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Title: The House of the Titans and Other Poems
Author: A.E. (George W. Russell)
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0300941h.html
Language: English
Date first posted:  Jul 2003
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The House of the Titans and Other Poems


A.E. (George W. Russell)

Cover Image


First published by Macmillan & Co., London and New York, 1934

This e-book edition: Project Gutenberg Australia, 2019

Cover Image

"The House of the Titans and Other Poems," Macmillan & Co., 1922


George W. Russell: A Self-Portrait.


AE, pseudonym of George William Russell, (born April 10, 1867, Lurgan, County Armagh, Ireland; died July 17, 1935, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England), poet, artist, and mystic, a leading figure in the Irish literary renaissance of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Russell took his pseudonym from a proofreader's query about his earlier pseudonym, "AEon."

After attending the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin, where he met the poet William Butler Yeats, Russell became an accounts clerk in a drapery store but left in 1897 to organize agricultural cooperatives. Eventually he became editor of the periodicals The Irish Homestead (1904-23) and The Irish Statesman (1923-30). In 1894 he published the first of many books of verse, Homeward: Songs by the Way. His first volume of Collected Poems appeared in 1913 and a second in 1926. He maintained a lifelong interest in theosophy, the origins of religion, and mystical experience. The Candle of Vision (1918) is the best guide to his religious beliefs.

—The Encylopaedia Britannica


To Osborn Bergin

                                             Dear Osborn, not only because you are my friend,
                                             But that you are one of those who learned
                                             An ancient speech for us, who rediscovered
                                             Myths, once the scriptures of the northern world,
                                             I bring this poem, half dream, half vision, to you.
                                             I know, incredulous scholar, you will lift
                                             Ironic eyebrows as you read the tale.
                                             But being poet yourself you will forgive
                                             Unto the poet things unpardonable
                                             Done by a scholar. Yet I would defend
                                             My telling of the tale. These myths were born
                                             Out of the spirit of man and drew their meaning
                                             From that unplumbed profundity. I think
                                             In after ages they will speak to us
                                             With deeper voices and meanings. In one age
                                             Men turn to the world about them and forget
                                             Their old descent from heaven. In another
                                             They storm the heavens with supplication. Some
                                             Have found the glittering gates to open.  I
                                             Beat many times upon the gates, but was not
                                             Like those who kept them mightily apart
                                             Until they entered. Yet from fleeting voices
                                             And visionary lights a meaning came
                                             That made my myth contemporary. And those
                                             Who read may find titans and king within
                                             Themselves.  And, if they ponder further, they may,
                                             Not in my story, but on the shining heights
                                             Of their own spirit, hear those lordlier voices,
                                             The ageless shepherds of the starry flocks,
                                             They whose majestic meditation is
                                             The music of being;  unto those who hear it
                                             Sweeter than bells upon a darkening plain
                                             When the dim fleeces move unto the fold.

The House Of The Titans

                                             The day was dead, and in the titans' hall
                                             The darkness gathered like some monstrous beast
                                             Prowling from pillar unto pillar:  yet
                                             The brazen dais and the golden throne
                                             Made a fierce twilight flickering with stars
                                             Far in the depths.  And there the sky-born king,
                                             Nuada, now king of earth, sat motionless,
                                             A fading radiance round his regal brows,
                                             The sceptre of his waning rule unused,
                                             His heart darkened, because the god within,
                                             Slumbering or unremembering, was mute,
                                             And no more holy fires were litten there.
                                             Still as the king, and pale and beautiful,
                                             A slender shape of ivory and gold,
                                             One white hand on the throne, beside him stood
                                             Armid, the wise child of the healing god.
                                             The king sat bowed:  but she with solemn eyes
                                             Questioned the gloom where vast and lumbering shades,
                                             A titan brood, the first born of the earth,
                                             Cried with harsh voices and made an uproar there
                                             In the king's dun oblivious of the king.
                                             While Armid gazed upon them came a pain
                                             That stirred the spirit stillness of her eyes,
                                             And darkened them with grief.  Then came her words
                                             "Tell me our story, god-descended king,
                                             For we have dwindled down, and from ourselves
                                             Have passed away, and have forgotten all."
                                             And at her calling "God-descended king"
                                             His head sank lower as if the glorious words
                                             Had crowned his brow with a too burning flame
                                             Or mocked him with vain praise.  He answered not,
                                             For memory to the sky-born king was but
                                             The mocking shadow of past magnificence,
                                             Of starry dynasties slow-fading out,
                                             The sorrow that bound him to the lord of light
                                             He was, ere he had sunken in red clay
                                             His deity.  The immortal phantom had not yet
                                             Revealed to him the gentler face it wears,
                                             The tender shadow of long vanquished pain
                                             And brightening wisdom, unto him who nears
                                             The Land of Promise, who, in the eve of time,
                                             Can look upon his image at the dawn
                                             And falter not.  And as King Nuada sat
                                             With closed eyes he saw the ancient heavens,
                                             The thrones of awe, the rainbow shining round
                                             The ever-living in their ageless youth,
                                             And myriads of calm immortal eyes
                                             That vexed him when he met the wild beast glare
                                             And sullen gloom of the dark nation he ruled,
                                             For whom self-exiled, irrevocably
                                             He was outcast among the gods.  And then
                                             The words of Armid came more thronged with grief
                                             "O, you, our star of knowledge, unto you
                                             We look for light, to you alone.
                                             All these Fall in that ancient anarchy again
                                             When sorrowing you put the sceptre by.
                                             Would not your sorrow shared melt in our love?
                                             Or our confederate grief might grow to power,
                                             And shake the gods or demons who decreed
                                             This darkness for us?  Or if the tale forbade
                                             All hope, there is a sorrowful delight
                                             In coming to the very end of all,
                                             The pain which is the utmost life can bear,
                                             Where dread is done, and only what we know
                                             Must be endured, and there is peace in pain.
                                             I would know all, O god-descended king!"
                                             That tribe of monstrous and misshapen folk
                                             Whose clamor overlaid her speech, and made
                                             Its music a low murmur, had grown still
                                             Far down the hall.  And at the close her words
                                             Came clear and purely, mingling with a voice
                                             And harp that hushed the titans.  Ah, that voice
                                             That made the giants' ponderous bulk to faint
                                             And bent the shaggy heads low on great hands,
                                             While over the dark crouching figures towered
                                             Angus the Young, the well-beloved god,
                                             With proud tossed golden hair that glittered o'er
                                             The beautiful bare arms that caught the harp,
                                             And the bright form went swaying as he played.
                                             And there were scarlet birds, a phantom throng
                                             That dashed against the strings, and fled away
                                             In misty flame amid the brooding crowd,
                                             And vanished;  while the colored dusk grew warm
                                             To the imagination, and was dense
                                             With dark heart-melting eyes, alluring lips,
                                             With milk-white bosoms, and with glimmering arms
                                             That drew the soul unto their folding love.
                                             And the tormented giants groaned and lay
                                             Prone on the hall, or stretched out hairy arms
                                             With knotted fingers feeling for the feet
                                             Of him who played.  But the enchanter laughed,
                                             The pride of the brute tamer in his eyes,
                                             And looked at Armid.   She had hidden her face
                                             To shut the vision, for he seemed no more
                                             Before her, but a fleshless creature stalked
                                             With bony fingers clutching at the strings,
                                             And all the giant nation lust-consumed
                                             Were dwindling out.  "Is there no hope," she cried,
                                             "For them, for us;  or must we still forget,
                                             And have not even memory we were gods,
                                             And these drop to that lightless anarchy
                                             From which they rose." Her tears were falling fast,
                                             The gods had learned to weep, the earth's first gift.
                                             Her weeping roused at length that stony king,
                                             Whose face from its own shadow lifted up
                                             Was like the white uprising of the moon.
                                             "O" better that remembrance be no more,
                                             Than we whose feet are tied unto this world
                                             Should seek in phantasy to climb the thrones
                                             Where once we sat and ruled the stars, and all
                                             The solemn cyclic motion of these spheres.
                                             And will the younger gods who took our seats
                                             Call to us and descend to give us place,
                                             Us who are feeble, who have lost our brightness,
                                             Whom only these acknowledge;  these alone
                                             When by our arts we change their hearts' desires,
                                             Masking their hideous shapes with airy forms,
                                             With sheeny silver, lustrous pearl, pale gold,
                                             Out of that glory still within us. No
                                             'Twere better that all memory should die,"
                                             "Let it not die," cried Armid, flinging up
                                             In fountainous motion her white hands and arms
                                             That wavered, then went downward, casting out
                                             Denial.  "Let it not die.  Let us still be
                                             Even in heart-torturing remembrance bound
                                             To what we were.  For that ancestral self
                                             May wake from out this pitiful dream of ours
                                             If there should mingle with it gleam or tone
                                             Of its own natural majesty.  I think
                                             That unremembered world where we were born
                                             Is not far from us, yearns for us.  Sometimes
                                             The air grows fragile and a light breaks through,
                                             And the tall heaven leans down to touch our brows,
                                             And our high kinsmen see us, and they are saying
                                             Of us, 'Soon they will awaken, soon
                                             Will come to us again.'  And for a moment
                                             We almost mix in their eternity."
                                             Then, kneeling on the dais nigh the throne,
                                             She cast her arms upon the high king's knees,
                                             And took his hands, her drooping loveliness
                                             All shaken with appeal. "Tell me, I fear
                                             To melt into the blackness of this world,
                                             To know naught else and yet to hate it still,
                                             To lose the heavens yet not to be of earth,
                                             Its natural happiness not mine. O that
                                             Would be the blackest torture of the soul.
                                             To forget ourselves, not to know, to hate,
                                             To grow at last like all we hate.  To have
                                             No hope but that the darkness owns.  I shall
                                             Go mad unless you speak and tell me all."
                                             And then the high king told her all the tale,
                                             Which he alone remembered but in myth
                                             And symbol.  It was so very long ago
                                             It might be but a dream, and thus it ran.
                                             In the beginning was the boundless Lir
                                             Within whose being heaven and earth were lost,
                                             And Light and Dark cradled together lay,
                                             And all things were at peace within the fold.
                                             The hunter with the hunted lay, for each
                                             Had found the end of battle and of hate
                                             Was adoration.  There fierce things made gentle,
                                             And timid things made bold, and small made great,
                                             Mingled together at the Feast of Age.
                                             And then the long night closed. The day began
                                             And out of the Immeasurable deep,
                                             The habitation of eternity,
                                             Flared the high legions of the Light and Dark.
                                             Driving their tributary powers to build
                                             Ethereal realms and dim underworlds.
                                             And in the overworld from rarest fire
                                             And starry substances, the builders reared
                                             Murias, Gorlas, Findias and Falias,
                                             That were like living creatures, and towered and glowed
                                             And changed with the imagination.  In those
                                             First realms of immortal youth the gods
                                             Had everywhere their hearts' desire.  For them
                                             Cities soared heavenward even at the thought,
                                             And life was beautiful as it was dreamed,
                                             For every thought broke into instant light
                                             Around the burning multitudes of heaven.
                                             And fluid nature, ever mirroring
                                             The gods within Its glowing glass, was slave
                                             To them, and held its tyranny far off.
                                             And there the sorceress writhing in her mists
                                             Shaped her fierce powers in hateful effigies
                                             Of heaven and of heaven's shining hosts.
                                             And there her children fought blind battles.  There
                                             Her stony kings held awful court.  And there
                                             The only ecstasy life knew was pain,
                                             And torture was the only sacrifice
                                             That could propitiate their demon gods.
                                             Long ages inarticulate with pain
                                             Passed by before their cry pierced up to heaven.

                                             In that wide palace of the overworld
                                             Where Nuada was king, the gods sat dumb
                                             Between the lustrous pillars, on long lines
                                             Of thrones, that faded, glow by glow, to where
                                             The king on high sat aureoled with light.
                                             And all were silent for that shining air
                                             That bathed them and was both light and sound together,
                                             And made a magic music for the gods,
                                             The sweet notes trembling of themselves, had cried,
                                             Not as its wont, interpreting their joy,
                                             But as if stricken by some frenzied hand,
                                             And the wild notes of woe went shrilling on
                                             And chilled the shuddering gods.  So all sat mute
                                             Frozen in starlike beauty on their thrones;
                                             For that they knew the lovely idleness
                                             Of youth in heaven was over, and ended all
                                             The entranced hours and foam-gay life.  And now
                                             The Realm of the Living Heart, no more
                                             Inviolate, was stormed by sorrow, and they,
                                             Who feared no strife with elemental powers,
                                             Being themselves the masters of the fire,
                                             Must war with sorrow, a spirit thing, that feared
                                             No battlement that cast forth lightnings, but
                                             Came cowled invisibly past watch and ward,
                                             And none knew till it keened within the heart.
                                             When Nuada within the darkling hall
                                             Saw all the bowed heads of his sovereignty,
                                             The stricken children of the mighty Lir,
                                             He heard a voice within him crying, "Sorrow
                                             Has come upon you.  Rise and war on sorrow."
                                             And to his eyes the underworld cast up
                                             Its nameless horrors 'mid the hall of heaven,
                                             Dim tyrannies that aped the sway of light,
                                             And grotesque idols of enormous bulk
                                             Carved by some gnomic art that never felt
                                             The spirit thrill of beauty.  And he saw
                                             The altars smoking with the victim's blood,
                                             Where lips were dumb through hopelessness, but yet
                                             From the most inner living heart of these
                                             A cry went to the heart of all the world,
                                             And made that wild distracted melody
                                             That shook the gods. Then Nuada arose,
                                             A blazing torch of indignation, and called,
                                             And in his voice rang out such pity and wrath,
                                             The proud and golden races flashed and leaped
                                             Dilated unimaginably for war,
                                             With dragon crests of ruby and of gold
                                             That flamed o'er burning faces and lit eyes,
                                             Till all the hall was dense with forms of fire,
                                             The warrior magnificence of heaven,
                                             That, in a many-colored torrent, streamed
                                             From shining courts and from the lawns of light
                                             And swayed there to and fro with brandished fires
                                             Clenched in uplifted hands.  They shouted loud
                                             Responding to the call of the high king.
                                             And Nuada spake thus unto the host.
                                             "This is the ending of the golden age,
                                             For that we know from ancient prophecy
                                             That darkness more intense than light has grown
                                             To shake the strings that for the mightiest
                                             Alone have voice.  And we must hear them breathe
                                             Their melody of anguish age by age
                                             Until the very heavens are wrecked of joy,
                                             And we be crushed, as in that tyranny
                                             Where our dark brother Balor rules the gloom,
                                             Save we can overcome that tyranny.
                                             Though we be children of the mighty Lir,
                                             And though his might be in us to create,
                                             Yet what is built is only what we dream,
                                             And so it comes these heavens alone are holy
                                             Because of things that we imagine there.
                                             If, by the magic of the mighty Lir,
                                             Cities spring heavenward even at our thought
                                             And life is beautiful but as we dream,
                                             Our grief too shall discolor paradise
                                             And dim these glittering cities.  Ye have heard
                                             The Children of the Darkness cry to us.
                                             And we who are the Children of the Light
                                             Must answer in the infinite brotherhood.
                                             Who will go with me to that underworld
                                             Where Balor for an iron age hath made
                                             Anguish immutable?  Who ventures there
                                             Must wear the very body of death, and feel
                                             The very soul of hate gnaw in his heart;
                                             And can but overcome them so he use
                                             The tender and fierce fire of spirit alone."
                                             Out of his wider vision spake the king
                                             Of that abysmal life that underlay
                                             The Happy Plains.  But they of heaven heard
                                             The tale unfearing. When the high king called,
                                             "Who will go with me, warriors of heaven?"
                                             A foam of glorious faces swayed to him
                                             Athirst for the heroic enterprise.
                                             And then the mightiest, rising from their thrones,
                                             Offered each one his own peculiar powers.
                                             "To earth I give the magic of the mind,"
                                             Said Manannan, nighest of all to Lir.
                                             And Dana said, "I shall make beauty there."
                                             And Angus said, "My birds shall waken love."
                                             Ogma, "The might of heaven is Mine to give."
                                             Fintan, "I shall bring memory and hope."
                                             "And I shall be the vanishing of pain,"
                                             Said Diancecht.  And of the immortals none
                                             But would lay down his sceptre, and forgo
                                             The sweetness of his youth on such a quest.
                                             After long pondering and council sought
                                             Where the All-Father breathed his oracles,
                                             Forth fared the heavenly adventurers,
                                             The chosen of Lir's children, passing from
                                             The old, perpetual, rejoicing life,
                                             Where in the lucid being of the gods
                                             The Mighty Father, shining, made each one
                                             A mirror of his own infinitudes.
                                             Then weaving forms of magic power that might
                                             Withstand the elemental energies,
                                             Upon the mid world venturing, the gods
                                             Down the sidereal streams waned far away
                                             From the ancestral plains and Light of Lights.
                                             And lastly by aeonian journeyings
                                             Came unto earth, the desert verge of things,
                                             Where all the heavens once held within their hearts
                                             Were now without, beyond, and far away.
                                             And as a spider by the finest thread
                                             Hangs from the rafters, so the sky-born hung
                                             By but the frailest thread of memory from
                                             The habitations of eternity.
                                             Yet still about them clung a heavenly air,
                                             The shadow of their ancient nobleness;
                                             And gods they seemed unto the titan brood,
                                             Sovereign hitherto on earth. And these,
                                             All wonderstruck before the heaven-born,
                                             Were prostrate, and thereafter made them kings,
                                             Served them and worked their will, and built for them
                                             Cyclopean duns, massy, of bronze or stone
                                             The time defying and unchangeable
                                             Fabric of earth. And so, because the gods
                                             Were folk of many arts, and all had drunk
                                             The Well of Knowledge, every work they planned
                                             Was marvelous unto the earth-born tribes
                                             Suppliant of all that wisdom.  For a time
                                             The heavenly quest seemed won, the face of earth
                                             Turned to the skies.  But underneath it all
                                             Some evil sorcery worked on the gods,
                                             And from them one by one dropped memory,
                                             So that it came they knew no light but that
                                             Set in the sky, the bodily form to be
                                             Themselves.  And earth had lost its first
                                             Impenetrable strangeness and grew dear
                                             As hearth and home. And they had happiness
                                             Moving amid its woods, rivers and hills.
                                             Only sometimes when gazing on the night,
                                             Freckled with myriad fires, they sighed and knew
                                             Not why they sighed.  Or when the flaming sun
                                             Sank drowned in darkness it seemed a secret tale
                                             Was told of their own falling. They thought no more
                                             Of that transfiguration of titan into god
                                             They had imagined;  and half a fable it seemed
                                             That story of heroic enterprise,
                                             And then it was forgotten utterly.
                                             The children of earth grew noble to their eyes,
                                             And they took brides from them, and through the gods
                                             The titan brood inherited the fires,
                                             Lights that made starry dreams of pride or power.
                                             And last the being of the gods was changed
                                             To be but lordlier titan, and their king
                                             Seemed but a madman dreaming of lost worlds.
                                             Then when the tale was told, with desperate eyes
                                             Armid gazed into the cyclopean dark,
                                             And to her imagination or spirit sense
                                             The brazen gloom was quick with livid shapes,
                                             Monstrosities of soul that in themselves
                                             Downward and backward prowl unto the brute.
                                             And here a ghoul, ice green, with famished eyes
                                             Glared at her where a titan's head had been;
                                             There apes that gibbered obscenely, monstrous cats
                                             That bristled with cold lights, and snaky heads,
                                             And dark implacable eyes of birds of prey
                                             That burned like evil fires within the gloom.
                                             But yet more terrible unto her heart
                                             The conflagration heaven had made on earth
                                             Breathing ethereal fire into red clay,
                                             Revealing beauty invisible before,
                                             The fairy star that glimmered o'er white brows,
                                             The lights that danced upon the airy limbs,
                                             The bloom and shadow as of delicate flowers
                                             That flickered over the sweet breasts, and dazzled
                                             The titans with strange graces.  And, because
                                             The body cannot clasp the phantom glow,
                                             The soul wrought wantonness and unnameable
                                             Defilement upon spirit.  Armid saw
                                             The beauty of the sky-maidens violated
                                             By the passionate imagination, and she reeled
                                             Sick with the horror, stretching out blind hands,
                                             For it was Angus by his song had kindled
                                             Desire so high that the sky maidens only
                                             Could satisfy the god-created lust.
                                             Then she groped outward for the mighty gates,
                                             And stood there trembling like a moth.  The night,
                                             Black framed between the pillar posts of bronze,
                                             Glowed like a fiery furnace of blue flame,
                                             With heavens that lost themselves in their own depths,
                                             Rumoring their own infinitudes,
                                             Fainting and faltering in their speech, for light,
                                             Though swiftest of all things, ere it has found
                                             A resting Place or hamlet in the gloom
                                             The worlds it spake of have long ceased to be.
                                             As inaccessible as those dim lights
                                             The heavens from which the gods had fallen so far,
                                             From infinite to pigmy.  Armid beat
                                             Upon her breast at her own impotence.
                                             Then the pure daughter of Diancecht
                                             Felt a fierce heat invade her, and she saw
                                             A titan with his red and bestial eyes
                                             Fixed on her beauty. The divine maid shuddered
                                             Through all her virgin being in premonition
                                             Of martyrdom through long ages to be,
                                             Of beauty bowed to sorrow, overborne
                                             By the unleashed brute in the titan heart.
                                             And the divine maid, maddened by her fears,
                                             Raced the dark lawn and onward to the beach,
                                             When the cold waters stayed her, and she paused,
                                             Holding her heart that fluttered like a bird
                                             At the long peril of the night in time.
                                             And then at last she sat upon a stone
                                             Gazing into the night, and heard the roar
                                             Of undistinguishable waters, until
                                             Upon the far horizon glowed a star,
                                             A star that rose where the late sun had set,
                                             A light dilating that came swiftly to her,
                                             And there were flutterings within the light
                                             As of celestial plumes fanning the air.
                                             And in the brightness there were fiery creatures,
                                             A winged horse, and o'er the rider's brow
                                             A sunrise blazed.  The winged courser came,
                                             Trampling the glittering billows, and before it
                                             The light flared on, revealing the wild surges,
                                             That had been before invisible, leaping up
                                             In shadowy shining, and, like hurrying clouds,
                                             Beaten by the storm of light unto the shore,
                                             Where the thick smoke of foam rolled on the sands
                                             And broke, frothing with stars.  Armid arose
                                             Her head bowed unto the glory of light,
                                             And when she lifted it the winged creature
                                             Had flown, but a tall warrior, its rider,
                                             Stood by her, a pillar of flame, his eyes so still
                                             They might have watched only eternities.
                                             She heard a voice that seemed soundless, that spoke
                                             To the spirit ear.  "Tell the high king a champion
                                             Out of the Land of Promise comes to him."
                                             And with no word the daughter of Diancecht
                                             As one in trance, not moved by her own will,
                                             Walked to the great gateway.  Unterrified
                                             She passed that titan who had frighted her,
                                             And came to the high king and told her tale.
                                             But he, obscured within himself, said only
                                             "What mightier warrior was there in heaven
                                             Than Ogma.  Now he leads the giants in war.
                                             Tell thou that champion to fly his winged horse,
                                             Swift as its frantic plumes may carry, before
                                             The sorcery overcome him and he forgets."
                                             Then Armid came again to him who stood,
                                             A stillness in flame, unseen by any eye
                                             But hers, and spoke as the high king had said.
                                             That voice again spoke to her spirit ear.
                                             "I am an enchanter.  Say this to the high king."
                                             So Armid spake to Nuada, but he:
                                             "Who had more enchantments than Dana, who made
                                             The primal forms of beauty for the gods.
                                             Now upon brute imaginings she casts
                                             Her glamour.  What need have we for enchanters!
                                             So to the heavenly wizard Armid brought
                                             The king's denial:  and he to her said,
                                             "Go To the high king, and say a poet waits
                                             Upon his threshold."  And at this the king
                                             Spoke more disdainfully.  "Have we not Angus,
                                             The poet whose song could recreate in us
                                             The ancientness before the worlds, where we,
                                             Lost in each other's being, found a honey
                                             Hoarded for us we could not find in time,
                                             A song we hear no more.  For now that poet
                                             Praises beauty that is but redness of clay.
                                             And the mad winging of his fiery birds
                                             Kindles the torment of infinite desire
                                             For shapes so fleeting they are hardly born
                                             Ere they are crumbled.  Say unto that poet
                                             There are too dark shadows about us for song."
                                             Once more came Armid, as one in trance, unto
                                             That heavenly poet forbidden song, who said,
                                             "I know the story of things past.  I know
                                             The tale of things to be." And to the king
                                             She came as bidden by the master of time
                                             And spoke.  But the king said, "Was not Fintan
                                             Historian and prophet!  Now his history runs
                                             Backward to the abyss.  His prophecies
                                             Tell only of worlds lightless and frozen, where we
                                             Shall have for cairn the glaciers over us.
                                             We need no prophet."  And the maiden told
                                             Unto that seer what the high king had said.
                                             And he who came from out a timeless world
                                             Spoke to her.  "I am a healer."  And once more
                                             She stood before the throne.  But Nuada cried,
                                             "A healer too!  Have we not Diancecht!
                                             What need have we for another god to tend
                                             The blighted in mind or body, who are leprous
                                             With evil living, so that desire may be
                                             Fierce as before.  That is no labor for gods."
                                             And then, forbidden healing, that lordly one
                                             Spake unto Armid, "Go thou to the high king
                                             And say I am a shepherd.  I have wisdom
                                             To guide the starry flocks."  And on swift feet
                                             As if that shepherd of stars had guided her,
                                             She passed the reeling titans and stood before
                                             The throne, and spoke even as the shepherd said.
                                             But Nuada answered. "Had not the Son of Lir
                                             All wisdom!  Through him those who had only
                                             Blind strength have grown crafty to conspire
                                             Even against the gods.  Say to that one
                                             It is easier to rule the heavens than the earth."
                                             And at this last denial the wise one said,
                                             "Ask the high king has he in that dark house
                                             One who is master of so many arts."
                                             And at this saying the high king sat upright
                                             As if a star had lighted the abyss
                                             Of memory, and it had recreated
                                             An ancient glory.  And he cried to Armid,
                                             "Bring unto me that master of many arts."
                                             And Armid went more swiftly, wondering
                                             If he who had been so many times denied
                                             Still waited.  In her imagination of him
                                             He was not single but innumerable,
                                             And all the stars and heavens were dancing in
                                             Her thoughts that bowed before him.  But when she
                                             Passed through the gateway into the night that one
                                             Who would not be denied still waited there.
                                             Once more she looked into the ageless eyes,
                                             And spoke the high king's words, and led the way
                                             Through the great gateway to the brazen gloom.
                                             While Nuada was sunken in himself
                                             A clamor of giant voices filled the hall,
                                             The fierce titans disputing, and the darkness
                                             Shook as at night the mountain valleys shake
                                             When dragon and mad colossi roar from their caves.
                                             And the king woke and cried out terribly
                                             Smiting the echoing gong. "It is not fitting
                                             For slaves to brawl in presence of their king."
                                             And at his words the titans crouching were mute.
                                             For when the high king willed they must obey,
                                             His will burning like fire, and it had power
                                             To slay or to create.  Then Armid came
                                             And with her came the master of many arts.
                                             And it may be because she had spoken with gods
                                             And was raised above herself, to the sky maiden
                                             The titans, so fearful before, now seemed remote
                                             As the far stars had been to her sadness. None
                                             But the high king and Armid saw the god.
                                             The daughter of Diancecht then sat apart
                                             With bowed head in the shadow of the throne,
                                             And heard voices above her of great beings,
                                             And saw a circle of the shining ones
                                             In the dark radiance under shuttered eyes.
                                             She heard first the voice of the high king
                                             Who spoke as one who was awaking from sleep
                                             Unto the heavenly visitor, "Why hast thou,
                                             Riding the horse of dawn, come to this place,
                                             To us forgotten in heaven.  For it must
                                             Be but a legend of its dawn, the story
                                             Of those rebel against its joy, who thought
                                             To overcome the anarchs of the abyss
                                             And were themselves overcome.  If thou
                                             Hast from pity come to help us, fly.
                                             There were immortals shining as thou art,
                                             And now they know not who they are, or from
                                             What heaven they fell.  It may be that I too
                                             Shall grow like these who have forgotten all,
                                             Be darkened, nor know of any other world."
                                             And he who came from the ancestral light
                                             Said, "Thou are indeed darkened to dream
                                             Of these that any had been gods.  Thou only
                                             Art real, these, but shadows of immortals.
                                             Since thou art darkened I will enter thee
                                             Giving my light to see the unfallen lights.
                                             Thou shalt hear voices speaking from thy own depths,
                                             And know to what evocation they will answer
                                             And dwell with thee even in this dark house."
                                             And while he spoke the thick and evil gloom
                                             Was paling within the titans' hall, and earth
                                             Grew shadowy thin, then dropped away.  A light
                                             Dawned through the darkness like a fiery sun
                                             Risen within the world.  The crouching titans
                                             Gave place unto a lordlier company
                                             Of the star-crested Ever-Living Ones,
                                             With eyes of ageless ecstasy, and faces
                                             Holy, compassionate, inexorable,
                                             With voices speaking the law of their high being
                                             Unto the king.  And, in an air that was
                                             Both music and light together, the poet of heaven,
                                             A brightness within the light, came singing to him
                                             As if his song rose from the sun of life.
                                             "O, see our sun is dawning for us, ever dawning
                                             With ever youthful and exulting voices.
                                             Your sun is but a smoky shadow:  ours
                                             The ruddy and eternal glow.  Your fire
                                             Is far away, but ours within our hearts
                                             Is ever living, and through wood and wave
                                             Is ever dawning on adoring eyes.
                                             Do you not know me?  I am the All-Father's voice.
                                             Until die twilight of the ages comes
                                             I sing the deathless union between all things.
                                             My birds from crystal-fiery plumage shed
                                             The Light of Lights.  Their kisses wake the love
                                             That never dies and leads through death to me.
                                             I am in every love.  But when they cling
                                             Unto the hands, the lips, the eyes, my song
                                             Is silent.  I fly and vanish and return not
                                             Till the red flutterings of the heart are still.
                                             I live in every love, but it is lightless
                                             Until they know the love they seek through me
                                             Is not the single but the innumerable joy:
                                             Until desire has made them pass away
                                             From their own selves for ever, and they cry
                                             To the All-Father to give to them his death,
                                             The dark rapture where they are lost in him.
                                             I am known only to self forgetfulness.
                                             My love shall be in thine when love is sacrifice."
                                             And then most pitying, most inexorable,
                                             As from a shoreless sea of wisdom came
                                             The voice of unappeasable law, so still
                                             It seemed to waver between life and death.
                                             "Do not turn from me.  Think on me long and long.
                                             Though I am justice and implacable,
                                             And nothing can escape me, no least erring,
                                             Yet am I also mercy and forgiveness.
                                             The pain I give is healing and guidance.  It draws
                                             The marred in body and mind, the lost and strayed
                                             Back unto life, and to the path that leads
                                             Unto their high inevitable destiny
                                             Of beauty and delight.  In those who mourn
                                             Their well-beloved dead I am the secret
                                             Sweetness they find in sorrow, coming to know
                                             That all was heavenly guided. And that wisdom
                                             Is absolution for their sins, and they
                                             Join in the cavalcade of starry minds.
                                             Know that all wisdom bides in joy or pain.
                                             When the mysterious river runs in channels
                                             Made clear by the pure spirit, its name is joy.
                                             But when the soul is thickened and dark the stream
                                             Breaks through and tends till all is purified
                                             By the sweet water.  Those who know me thus
                                             Find joy in pain.  They even press the spear
                                             For swifter absolution into the heart.
                                             I shall be with thee when thy will, no more
                                             Rebel, shall know that I am justice, and cry
                                             'Hail unto thee! and hail! and hail for ever!'
                                             Although I come to thee as death, or strike
                                             At love that is more even to thee than life.
                                             Yield to me and thou art my conqueror.
                                             There is no other god than me to fear."
                                             So spake the ancestral voice of Diancecht,
                                             And after that dread wisdom came the voice
                                             Of Dana, mother of all and comforter.
                                             "I am the tender voice calling away,
                                             Whispering between the beatings of the heart,
                                             And inaccessible in dewy eyes
                                             I dwell, and all unkissed on lovely lips,
                                             Lingering between white breasts inviolate,
                                             And fleeting ever from the passionate touch,
                                             I shine afar till men may not divine
                                             Whether it is the stars or the beloved
                                             They follow with rapt spirit.  And I weave
                                             My spells at evening, folding with dim caress,
                                             Aerial arms and twilight dropping hair,
                                             The lonely wanderer by wood or shore,
                                             Till, filled with some vast tenderness, he yields,
                                             Feeling in dreams for the dear mother heart
                                             He knew ere he forsook the starry way,
                                             And clings there pillowed far above the smoke
                                             And the dim murmur from the duns of men.
                                             I can enchant the rocks and trees, and fill
                                             The dumb brown lips of earth with mystery,
                                             Make them reveal or hide the god; myself
                                             Mother of all, but without hands to heal,
                                             Too vast and vague, they know me not, but yet
                                             I am the heartbreak over fallen things,
                                             The sudden gentleness that stays the blow,
                                             And I am in the kiss that foemen give
                                             Pausing in battle, and in the tears that fall
                                             Over the vanquished foe.  And in the highest
                                             Among the Danann gods I am the last
                                             Council of pity in their hearts when they
                                             Mete Justice from a thousand starry thrones.
                                             My heart shall be in thine when thine forgives."
                                             After the voice of ancient beauty had died
                                             The voice of Ogma, the master of the fires:
                                             "Though I have might to roll the stars through heaven,
                                             And all the gods are suppliant of my power,
                                             And what they do is portion of my strength,
                                             I was made master by the All-Father only
                                             Because I was the gentlest of the gods.
                                             And, though I make fierce war upon the anarchs,
                                             My myrmidons are frail and delicate things.
                                             I hide within a blossom and its still beauty
                                             Becomes mighty as a star and none may touch it.
                                             I can stay the march of armies by a child.
                                             When I look through its eyes the passionate hand
                                             Falls, and the soul in awful penitence
                                             Hides in itself.  And with a twilight air
                                             I can make anchorites of kings.  I overcome
                                             Fierce things by gentleness.  And my allies
                                             Against the thunder of congregated powers
                                             Are silences in heaven, the light in valleys,
                                             The smoke above the roof, the quiet hearth,
                                             The well-beloved things that come to be
                                             Images of peace in the All-Father's being.
                                             No sentinel can stay them, and they make
                                             Traitors to glory and pride.  And so I gather
                                             Invincible armies that can invade
                                             The secret places of the spirit, until
                                             Even the comets and mad meteors,
                                             The lions of the wilderness of space,
                                             Who roam with fiery manes, the potentates
                                             Of air and earth, rulers of thrones and powers,
                                             Melted within themselves give fealty,
                                             And build together till the dream of life
                                             Mirrors the All-Father's being, and that
                                             Can know itself in us as we in him.
                                             When thou art of thine own will defenceless
                                             As the fragile flickering moth or trembling grass,
                                             I shall be champion for thee.  Thou shalt find
                                             Invisible legions breathing love for thee
                                             Through the dark clay, or from the murmuring air,
                                             And by the margin of the deep. And when
                                             Thy spirit becomes so gentle it could pass
                                             Into another spirit and leave no wound,
                                             I will give unto thee this star to lead."
                                             Then came the voice of Fintan, the master of time.
                                             "I am all knowledge, all that was or is
                                             Or ever shall be glows and breathes in me
                                             In an eternal present.  Even the gods
                                             Departing from me are lost within themselves,
                                             And slave to the enchantment that divides
                                             Has-been from yet-to-come and far from near.
                                             So they forget themselves and dwindle down
                                             From their full orbit.  And they come to be
                                             Frail sparks that wander in the immensity
                                             Of their own primal being, moving ever
                                             Unto horizons that forever recede.
                                             Yet am I always with them.  I abide
                                             Steadfast, the still innumerable light,
                                             Between the vanished and the coming wave.
                                             And yet they know me not.  Incessant voices
                                             In every beating of the heart will call
                                             Away from me.  For one will cry to them,
                                             'O hurry, hurry to the golden age.'
                                             And yet another voice appeals,
                                             'O come.  A treasure lies in the rich wilderness.
                                             There is the fountain of youth.'  Others will cry:
                                             'Go not.'  'Thy love is dying.'  'Thy friend is false.
                                             'Thine enemy derides thee.'  'That tyrant crush.'
                                             'Let us be conqueror,' or 'All is lost!'
                                             Though they fly from me it is me they seek,
                                             Nor know that I am in their every breath.
                                             When unto these loud voices thy heart is blind,
                                             And hope and fear are dead, and thou art still
                                             Amid the battle thunder, and desire not
                                             Sceptre nor crown.  Then I shall be with thee
                                             And melt for thee the heavens into one light,
                                             And shepherd the long aeons into one fold
                                             With all dead beauty and beauty yet unborn,
                                             And enemies made lovers, and dread monsters
                                             Become gentle and spirit things.  Desiring nothing
                                             I will give thee all."  And last of these
                                             Immortal voices spake the Son of Lir.
                                             "I am the shepherd of the starry flocks,
                                             The wisdom of the gods.  And it is mine
                                             To plan for every spirit, even the worm
                                             And tiny gnat, their path through winding cycles
                                             Until they glow with uncreated light
                                             And blaze with power.  And those who sat on thrones
                                             And shone like gods at dawn of the great day
                                             I bring to the abyss where they are dimmed,
                                             But not for their abasing. Those who know
                                             The heavens only are but slaves of light,
                                             Mirrors of majesties they are not, shining
                                             In beauty given to them, not their own,
                                             Nor born from their own valor. For to be
                                             True gods, self-moving, they must grow to power
                                             Warring in chaos with anarchs. It was I
                                             Who broke thy trance upon the Happy Plains
                                             Revealing to thee the underworld. And yet
                                             It was thy will made thee heroical
                                             And rebel to that joy.  All the high gods
                                             Have made the sacrifice of heaven, and worn
                                             Dark clay around their light;  and in the abyss
                                             Have known unnumbered sorrows, and the joy
                                             Of every creature, and come to myriad wisdom,
                                             A honey harvested from many lives.
                                             And so the primal vision is for them
                                             Transfigured into being.  For thy first
                                             Heroical will to conquer thou must conceive
                                             Thyself as spirit to all nature, and
                                             All life that breathes within it to be thy own.
                                             When thou canst beat upon its myriad gates
                                             Crying, 'It is thyself that comes,' all gates
                                             Will open for thee;  and the love that dwells
                                             In hate will burst its dungeon, and fly to thee
                                             As children fly to a beloved breast.
                                             High majesties shall be melted unto thee,
                                             The dragons of the waste be gentle, and
                                             The slave with thee be fearless and a king
                                             In his own heart, and the dumb mind have voice,
                                             And every spirit reveal the wonder concealed
                                             In its own depths.  And when thou knowest all
                                             Thou shalt be counselor with the high gods
                                             Who pass remembering through the nights and days
                                             Of the All-Father, and at the Feast of Age
                                             Be with them when they plan for the new dawn
                                             Glories beyond all ever known.  When thou
                                             Shalt pray, not for thyself, but for those others
                                             I will give thee the wisdom of eternity."
                                             The master of many arts was heard no more.
                                             The heaven-descended voices died in deeps
                                             Of the king's being.  The starry shining shapes
                                             Through which the lords had utterance vanished.  But
                                             Before the tide of darkness had returned,
                                             And by their mingled light of vision, he saw
                                             Within the titan heart, and felt its beating
                                             As he were one with it;  and all the wonder
                                             And awe at the sky visitors;  the beauty
                                             Unimaginable on earth before;
                                             And last, desire to hold, to own, to be:
                                             The tumult of unappeasable desire
                                             For loveliness that is of spirit alone
                                             Eluding the titan arm, leaving to it
                                             Only the primal clay;  the titan trust
                                             In strength, the error oft repeated, and
                                             The brute despair and the descent to hells
                                             Earth had not known before the spirit came.
                                             Until from pain and fiery penitence
                                             And brooding, and self pity that came to be
                                             All pitiful, slowly die titan heart
                                             Found in its depths the magian mind that can
                                             Grow what it dreams on.  And through its worship came
                                             Transfigurations, and the adoring heart
                                             Passed from itself;  its ancient sorrows grown
                                             To be its blessings, its agonies become
                                             Its joys, the titan darkness to blaze with stars,
                                             And the high powers that only yield themselves
                                             To gentleness, awaiting its perfecting to give
                                             Sovereignty over all the elements.
                                             As one who reaps the harvest of ages at once
                                             He saw the titan thought invade the world,
                                             Run through its veins, until the silence broke
                                             With revelation;  and the earth became
                                             A mother speaking to her children, giving
                                             The wisdom of her heavenly ways;  her dawns,
                                             Her noons, her twilights magical with love;
                                             Life breathing life, no longer solitary.
                                             Its every breathing quick with multitude:
                                             The infinite above them with its lights
                                             From its majestical remoteness bent
                                             With voices and meanings from the vast, and earth
                                             Casting its robe of darkness to reassume
                                             Its ancient garment of light;  and in divine
                                             Companionship waiting the tremor that runs
                                             Throughout the Spheres when the All-Father calls
                                             His children homeward;  and the high grandees,
                                             The very noblest in the universe,
                                             Princes of stars, and solar kings, and rulers
                                             Of constellations and of galaxies,
                                             Are bowed in awe, and put aside their sceptres,
                                             As humble as the least of creeping things
                                             Before the mystery of the All-Father,
                                             The illimitable, whom none had ever known
                                             Though lost within him at the Feast of Age,
                                             So the high king, rapt in his vision, dreamed
                                             Of that great hostel at the end of time
                                             Where all the cycles sleep;  and came at last
                                             To open his eyes upon the brazen gloom
                                             To know the labor before him, and to hear
                                             The titans raving madly in the hall.

Lost Talisman

                                             Those images of beauty
                                             That once I did despise,
                                             Now in my age I cherish
                                             And clutch with miser's eyes.
                                             Even for one frail blossom
                                             I will make sacrifice.

                                             Once there were other treasures
                                             I had, O strange to say,
                                             Made dim those magic blossoms
                                             And I cast them away.
                                             I cast beauty from me
                                             As a god child might in play.

                                             O what was in the being
                                             Of boyhood that could make
                                             Beauty seem but a glimmer
                                             That followed in the wake
                                             Of some proud sails set sunward
                                             On some enchanted lake.


                                             The skies were dim and vast and deep
                                             Above the vale of rest.
                                             They seemed to rock the stars to sleep
                                             Beyond the mountain's crest.

                                             I sought for graves I had mourned, but found
                                             The roads were blind.  The grave,
                                             Even of love, heart-lost, was drowned
                                             Under time's brimming wave.

                                             Huddled beneath the wheeling sky,
                                             Strange was my comfort there:
                                             That stars and stones and love and I
                                             Drew to one sepulchre.

A Mountain Tarn

                                             The pool glowed to a magic cauldron
                                             O'er which I bent alone.
                                             The sun burned fiercely on the waters,
                                             The setting sun:
                                             A madness of fire:  around it
                                             A dark glory of stone.

                                             O mystic fire!
                                             Stillness of earth and air!
                                             That burning silence I
                                             For an instant share.
                                             In the crystal of quiet I gaze
                                             And the god is there.

                                             Within that loneliness
                                             What multitude!
                                             In the silence what ancient promise
                                             Again renewed!
                                             Then the wonder goes from the stones,
                                             The lake and the shadowy wood.

Wood Ways

                                             Thus did the laughing king, the magic maker,
                                             Draw me into the wind-glittering wood
                                             By an enchantment of blown boughs and lights,
                                             And faint and myriad flickerings within
                                             The many-pillared palace of leaves.  The air,
                                             A flying girl, flame-limbed, before me runs
                                             Sprinkling the dark with jewels.  Eyes are dizzy
                                             With sudden color.  O, the hyacinths!
                                             I fall on knees watching the laughing king
                                             Hide stars in wild blossoms.  On moss I lie,
                                             My eyes arc shuttered but the earth is airy,
                                             Dense to the body, to the spirit most clear.
                                             O, it was so in the golden age.  Men lived
                                             In the bright fire, in air, in earth. They knew
                                             Only the being of the laughing king
                                             And had no name for themselves.  A night
                                             Of many million years breaks now to dawn.
                                             As the numbed limb quickening to life becomes
                                             Once more the body we knew, so the whole star
                                             Quickens within me.  Why was the spirit numb
                                             In a little dust?  I glow to the full orb.
                                             Upon its burnished uplands what shining dancers,
                                             With what unfallen beauty, what wild innocence
                                             Make visible the laughter of their king!
                                             By what fleet witchery of limb the inaudible
                                             Becomes music to the eye, joy in the heart!
                                             What secret lies behind the lovely light?
                                             What lovelier darkness, from which spirit-clear
                                             Voices call to me, "O, come home, come home!"


                                             I  wake from her sweet play.
                                                                                          Although my heart had hardly beat
                                             For a dream instant, the wild child
                                                                                          Stamps with imperious feet.

                                             Wind-quickened shook the forest boughs;
                                                                                          Green. glitterings died and came;
                                             O'er her young stormy beauty broke
                                                                                          Ripples of shade and flame.

                                             I wake, my lovely child, I wake;
                                                                                          I fly thy slave to be.
                                             Forgive, O voices from the deep,
                                                                                          Yet come again to me.

Time Spirits

                                             I do not chide them that they fly the wood,
                                             Hill, river, lake, remote and endless shore,
                                             Nor pluck jewels of words out of the light,
                                             But seek their song under those cliffs of stone
                                             And stone-gray air that reels dizzy with mist.
                                             They think if they but watch their world they will
                                             Be master of it, their speech recall today
                                             Unto tomorrow.  They do not know that time
                                             Forgets its hours, its days, its years and all
                                             But that which has some touch of the timeless on it.
                                             We do not care to know of Plato's town
                                             By what light arts, what trick of life, men made
                                             The color of their days.  But we remember
                                             One who by airy labors found a way
                                             From earth to heaven, and looked upon a sea,
                                             Shoreless, of beauty, and told of it in words
                                             Dipt in its shining.  I have no blame that they
                                             Forget the aristocracy of speech, and use
                                             Slang of the town, and have no age in their thought,
                                             And think as children might do if their world
                                             Were newly born, and god or sage had never
                                             Dropt star or lantern into our abyss:
                                             Or look on frailty, seeing the skimming dancers
                                             With lightness of feet lighten the leaden heart,
                                             Jetting gay fire into the fireless mind.
                                             They might look upon transience all day long
                                             Yet be in company of the gods, could they
                                             But know the Master of the Ceremony,
                                             Cry with Aratus, "Full of Zeus the city:
                                             Full of Zeus the harbor;  and full of Zeus
                                             Are all the ways of men," the vision that makes
                                             All lights be torches in the mystery,
                                             All speech be part of the soliloquy,
                                             Or endless canticle, all holy, sung
                                             By Him who is poet both of heaven and earth.

Two Magics

                                             Have they the same enchantment, these children straying
                                             In streets where electric moonlight and scintillating rose
                                             Shed blooms on the ashen air, as those other children
                                             Crouched in trance under hedgerows where hawthorn thickens
                                                                                          its snows;

                                             Or those others, who under a real moon and stars
                                             Move to deeper wonder in themselves, who are still,
                                             Who touch each other but gently, lest they break the magic
                                             That makes them one with it on the night-shadowy hill.


                                             How easily defeated!  A fleet grace of limb
                                             Swept by;  dark eyes that dared him follow where they led:
                                             And all the heavens had dwindled to one star for him,
                                             And the great deep lay hollow, lightless, blind and dead.

                                             Sadly the over-shadowing forms of might depart.
                                             His eyes with longing no more search the mystic sea.
                                             With one alone he lingers murmuring heart to heart,
                                             "One infinite, thy love, is life enough for me."

The Dark Lady

                                             O, no, I was not wanton with that man.
                                             But to his imaginations, yes.  I made
                                             Myself a hundred natures.  It is writ,
                                             My myriad girlhood, in that printed page.
                                             Or was it I?  Did I but play the part
                                             His magic plotted for me?  Did he know
                                             That his imaginations lived in me
                                             And swayed me to be one of their own kind,
                                             To act the bawd for whom an emperor
                                             Might cast his world away:  or it might be
                                             A maid to whom the world had never come,
                                             All innocent upon a fairy isle.
                                             Yet at the court of the great queen I had
                                             But one disdainful face, however many
                                             Wild hearts might beat within me:  and high lords
                                             And admirals, who had wrecked Armadas, were
                                             Wrecked on a flinty look.  O, I remember.
                                             My heart swoons to think upon that hour,
                                             When a young learned gentleman, his head
                                             Dizzy with gaudy words that had caught fire
                                             From sun and moon, importuned me to know
                                             The latest prince of speech.  And I was swept,
                                             Half laughing and half scornful, to my fate.
                                             Yet I had not been one hour in the room
                                             Ere I was lit by many torches, and
                                             Knew, being in that humble lodging house,
                                             That I had come unto a lordlier court
                                             Than the great queen's, a court where kings and princes
                                             Robeless could awe by their own majesty,
                                             Or, being bare to the spirit, seemed as low
                                             As if they had not legions at their call.
                                             And there were elves that frolicked in his thought,
                                             And giddy knaves whose very sins seemed rooted
                                             In a wild nature, and might win them heaven
                                             To make laughter for angels.  I knew a man
                                             Who held these very knaves had much to teach us
                                             As the apostles:  and we would lose less
                                             Missing the queen of the dawn out of the myths,
                                             Juno, with grave eyes under heavenly brows
                                             And proud, starred peacocks, than if his rascal
                                             Jack Had never lived in story.  Not at once
                                             Did I know all.  No man will ever know
                                             The mystery of his being, of multitudes
                                             Within one spirit.  Yet I knew from the first
                                             That they were with him, incorporeal real,
                                             Taking immortal bodies from sweet sounds,
                                             Leaping into our thought as gay moon,
                                             A slippery dancer, reels from wave to wave.
                                             He had hardly spoken ere a spirit of his
                                             Had flashed within me, and I had made answer
                                             Out of its nature.  He turned upon me eyes
                                             So wonder-wise, so humorous kind, that I
                                             Was melted from my art of dignity
                                             And became once more the laughing girl who ran
                                             Under her father's elms, who knew no rank
                                             But life;  jesting with folly;  with her wit
                                             Pelting both lords and grooms.  O, the sweet play,
                                             When all the delicate spirit's aflame, and points
                                             With its own fire the airy rapier, nor knows
                                             In that obscurity of delight the end
                                             That it desires, the point in the other's breast.
                                             For we are both half fearing and half faining
                                             The exquisite anguish of our pierc├Ęd heart.
                                             So flashed our speech.  The first of many times.
                                             I had not more easily as a small child
                                             Told my heart stories than I could to him
                                             Tell everything in thought, as if he were
                                             An ampler, wiser heart-nurse to myself.
                                             And though I was all love I shrank from that,
                                             The mating of lips and body, lest having all
                                             I should have less than love;  in the king's bed
                                             Be absent from his court.  And when I was
                                             Within myself, the angels of wisdom and love
                                             Held passionate council in me.  I was rent
                                             By images of love and by their martyrdoms,
                                             For I had buried many an image deep
                                             In the heart's doubt what would be noble to do.
                                             And for there was that warfare in me the girl
                                             Was ripened to full woman.  I looked back
                                             Upon the woman I had been before
                                             As she upon her childhood.  I was I think
                                             The only creature that by flesh and blood
                                             Entered the court of his spirit:  and all others
                                             Came through some crystal mystic gate unto
                                             The throne of his heart as vassals might, and left
                                             Not tribute of pearl, ivory or gold
                                             But breathed their very spirits into him
                                             That he would dress as emperors and clowns,
                                             Play one against another.  I do believe
                                             The mighty dead from unimagined homes
                                             Dreamed back their greatness and their frailty,
                                             The very lion front that awed the world,
                                             Shaking it by the thunder of words that fell
                                             From the imperious heaven of the high will.
                                             And how could it be other?  We are not gods
                                             To create life, and only what is given us
                                             Order and rule.  I know it, I, that was
                                             A glowing mirror to him, would sometimes,
                                             Ere he had spoken, find living in myself
                                             His latest imagination, the very trick
                                             Of its mad mood, and hear it afterwards
                                             Dressed in the actor's body cry on a stage.
                                             If it was so with me, might he not be
                                             A hostel for all life?  For some design,
                                             I know not what.  Perhaps that we who play
                                             Upon our surfaces might pry more deep
                                             In our rich mystery, the way be pointed
                                             That life must travel.  I thought it so, that he
                                             Was magicked by the gods for their design,
                                             And I was handmaid to it.  O how frail
                                             The instruments the gods must use in us!
                                             There came to the queen's court their masterpiece,
                                             A boy that stayed the breath, all glow and fire,
                                             Unflawed, so airy ivory of limb
                                             He might have leaped from an archangel's dream.
                                             And was it destiny that two such wonders
                                             Of soul and body should meet, be to each other
                                             Mystery and enchantment:  beauty that had
                                             No soul but beauty itself:  and the wise soul,
                                             Baffled in reading where there was not mind,
                                             Fell into dreaming, and at last was stayed
                                             On the body's miracle.  And I grew sick
                                             Seeing the dawn of an unnatural love,
                                             The kind that marred the Grecian genius, and closed
                                             The nobleness of mind that had begun
                                             With Homer's tale.  I cried upon myself
                                             As all corrupt to so misread the eyes
                                             That rested on the boy, or the sweet words.
                                             But when I knew that I had not misread,
                                             O, what heart shaking, what deep fountains of scorn
                                             Or pity broke out like madness.  I lay awake
                                             Buffeted by fierce winds from heaven and hell,
                                             Searching the blackness of my night for God.
                                             And knew not whether God or devil counseled,
                                             Self love, or love that crucifies itself,
                                             Or anguish of long stemmed desire to have
                                             What passes from it.  But I thought to stay
                                             That love unnatural test his spirit's walls
                                             Should thicken, and there be a solitude
                                             In that high court.  And I used every art
                                             Of heart and body and gave the body to him,
                                             And had no joy in giving.  The holy fires
                                             Whereof the Elohim compounded us
                                             If they glow not to one pure breathing, but
                                             Are all disordered, war in us and burn us
                                             By hurt of beauty or love, or wisdom cries,
                                             A mourner in the thick of erring delight.
                                             And he to whom I was no mystery,
                                             But a dear friend, stayed not his heart on me,
                                             For that infinitude of his wide mind,
                                             Searching ever for the undiscovered heart,
                                             Wandered away from me unto that one
                                             Beautiful, baleful and uncharted star
                                             Of boyhood.  I knew my sacrifice was vain
                                             And a new madness shook me, making me
                                             All pitiless, with a mad woman's will
                                             To win her way even if soul be lost.
                                             And all affections in me made bitter, changed
                                             In dark reverse unto their opposites.
                                             I was as one who hears an angel sing
                                             To a sweet lute, then turns to her dark angel
                                             To sing the same song to the trembling strings,
                                             And pure and holy are made poisonous.
                                             When we are maddened, and the goblins in us
                                             Riot in incredible loves and hates
                                             I do not know if god or demon guides
                                             The storm while we are blinded.  I was not
                                             The same although I moved to the same end.
                                             For now I was all hopeless in love, yet played
                                             With all my woman's art upon the boy,
                                             Meeting him in palace chambers or
                                             In garden alleys.  I was I know not what
                                             Unconquered and rich wonder to his youth
                                             That had won all easily before, but now
                                             Met but a lovely mockery when he prayed;
                                             And the unravished beauty was to him,
                                             As with that other, the sole star of the heart.
                                             And so I drew him, half forgetting at times
                                             My purpose, for he was a masterpiece
                                             Of heaven, and how sweet to play with, till
                                             My purpose and some wildness in my blood
                                             Conspired together.  I yielded to him, became
                                             A mistress unto two, one godlike in mind
                                             And one, the outer image of a god.
                                             And in intoxication of conquest the boy
                                             Wore all a victor's airs with me until
                                             Even rumor had no further secrets to tell.
                                             And then at last one day I met the other
                                             And he had known, and never was there face
                                             So ravaged, and my heart in every beat
                                             Let rain a drop all fiery red.  There was
                                             I know not what wild pity in my eyes,
                                             And the god knows that at no other time
                                             Was I so lost from myself, so terribly his.
                                             Yet at his anguished words I wore the air
                                             Of one bred in the gay court of the world
                                             Above the ceremony by which the herd
                                             Order their ways, one who took carelessly
                                             This love or that, and knew no obligation
                                             But to win fuel to keep high one's fire.
                                             He could not read me, my heart-aching humor -
                                             For I was not then in his heart that never
                                             Misread, but only an apparition to his eyes -
                                             When I likened myself to him, the myriad minded
                                             Who gathered knaves and heroes with like love
                                             To snatch the inmost secret of them, so I
                                             Seeking as rich a wisdom, must, being woman,
                                             Who win only by the body, search the soul
                                             At its full tide in the completeness of love,
                                             When, to the vigilant spirit, it is quick
                                             With all it is.  And I had not yet won
                                             Spirits enough to be a mate for him
                                             Learned in so many hearts. He threw at me
                                             A single word.  I, who had masked my soul
                                             As the proud queen of harlots to deceive,
                                             Was yet angered he should be credulous,
                                             And all that was still virginal in me,
                                             And all my passion he should be deceived,
                                             Cried furiously in bitter and wild speech
                                             That spurned him.  When god and devil through one voice
                                             Cry the same words they scorch with double fire.
                                             And he, the mighty seer, looked for a moment
                                             Upon me as if spirit and sense in him
                                             Were sundered.  With no other word he went.
                                             He saw me never again.  Yet I was victor
                                             Slaying the unnatural with the natural love.
                                             And I do think for all my bruised heart
                                             I was more happy than he.  I can but guess
                                             From that he made the bitter Troilus speak
                                             Of Cressid in how many blazing fires
                                             His anger burned me.  Still I dreamed of that
                                             Rich court so many colored once. But now,
                                             O, what dark travelers scourged to that dark house
                                             Brought as unto the nether sovereignty
                                             Tribute of raving madness, guilt and fear,
                                             Unto that one whose fearful artistry
                                             With pigments of midnight, eclipse and fire
                                             Could make them visible for ever.
                                             And yet I think that I, who had vanished from his eyes,
                                             Was still within him.  For he, who painted me
                                             In many scarlet dyes, came ere the end
                                             To breathe forgiveness.  I had once imagined
                                             For his delight myself to be a maid
                                             Bred on a fairy isle who knew not man,
                                             And I played for him with what innocence
                                             The maid would greet a lover who came to her.
                                             And at the last he had fondled in his thought
                                             My tender fantasy, and made himself
                                             An enchanter with spirits at his command
                                             And they had loved each other.  So I think
                                             That he had come to know himself and me.
                                             O, why are we not certain of our fate!
                                             There was another dread enchanter imagined.
                                             A circle in the kingdom of the dead,
                                             Where sinful lovers, who are blown about
                                             In an eternal storm, cling to each other.
                                             I thought that I, even on that stormy air,
                                             Would have eternal joy were I the one
                                             To whom his hands clung in the eternal shade.
                                             And brooding on that poet's tale I dreamt
                                             That I was so blown about with one
                                             Who held to me, but when I saw his face
                                             It was not the face I loved, but was the face
                                             Beautiful, mad, hopeless, of that boy.
                                             And I awoke.  I had been weeping in sleep
                                             And all my pillow was a wetness of tears.

Earth Spirit

                                             O dark holy magic,
                                             To steal out at dawn,
                                             To dip face and feet in grasses
                                             The dew trembles on,
                                             Ere its might of spirit healing
                                             Be broken by the dawn.

                                             O to reel drunken
                                             On the heady dew,
                                             To know again the virgin wonder
                                             That boyhood knew,
                                             While words run to music, giving voices
                                             To the voiceless dew.

                                             They will make, those dawn-wandering
                                             Lights and airs,
                                             The bowed worshipping spirit
                                             To shine like theirs,
                                             They will give to thy lips an aeolian
                                             Music like theirs.

The Iron Age Departs

They touched each other with wondering hands.  No sultry fire
Stained the sweet crystal of spirit.  They looked in each other's eyes
But saw there only the innocence of the wise,
No hiding beast.  Had it flown, the dragon of desire?
Oh, what heroes, what strong immortal, overcame
That ancient evil?  Again they were virginal,
Light and air made music as before the Fall.
Feet danced, hearts were airy, thoughts gay--gay as flame.
They ran to each other:  "Are they indeed over, the long,
Unlit, black ages, crucifixions, agonies?"
They forgave unforgivable sins.  All these
Old hates changed laughing into loves.  All ancient wrong
Was heavenly Justice.  They were drawn Into a fold
Where all things were in league.  Even the stars drew nigh.
A marvelous sweetness breathed.  Was it from earth or sky?
How came the heart to be melted?  Was it the Age of Gold,
Fabulous, unhoped for, the sabbatical aeon of time,
Returned, not to rest in.  No, but to hasten away,
For deeps within them called, divine dark deeps, where they
Beheld the fathers of being beckoning them to climb
To sit on thrones starry with the Ancestral Lights.
The wars of time were ended, the gates of the heart unbarred.
A vastness flooded their being, a vastness myriad-starred.
The soul remembered its youth.  Oh, in what deeps, what heights!
Then time turned on itself, yet the vision seemed so true
The heart ached to be prophet, to run through the streets and cry
"It is coming!--O, it Is coming!  The Golden Age is nigh!
See what star-glimmering citadels rise in the blue!
What faces ancient with youth and wisdom watch from the towers,
For us who strayed, who were lost, who rise again from the dead.
For us, prodigals, the tables of heaven are spread;
From earth to heaven of heavens.  All that glory is ours!"
And then the dragon croak of the city smote on my ears,
Harsh with the screech of wheels, the rasp of brakes.  And I
Was again in the iron time.  An unassailable sky.
Above, and darkness before us for blind uncountable years.


                                             All that was harsh or sweet
                                             To me was brought
                                             Through some affinity
                                             With soul or sense or thought.
                                             I complain not nor wonder.
                                             Just was my lot.

                                             I ask the wise to say
                                             Why are we heir
                                             To the wonder of the sky,
                                             The shining there.
                                             What justice gave to me
                                             This star-enchanted air?

                                             Is there still in us
                                             A heaven-descended ray
                                             Of that which built the palaces
                                             Of night and day?
                                             Do our first works, sun, moon, and stars,
                                             Shine on our clay?

                                             O, how my heart leaps up!
                                             It can laugh.  It could fly,
                                             Even in dream being knit
                                             To that majesty!
                                             Though long passed from our glory,
                                             I can sing!  I could fly!

An Idle Reverie

                                             She passed by, shadowing the shining waters,
                                             Noble and naiad-like her image, purpled
                                             Against the sunblaze.  As she wandered on
                                             The old heart-sickness for beauty came upon me,
                                             Because that imagination of her I had
                                             Might shine on heaven or earth, be interlinked
                                             With those pure, grave-eyed, immortal dawn-maidens
                                             And glow unfading by them.  It might be
                                             The light of some long night in time;  that beauty
                                             Bowed to such sorrow that the soul beholding
                                             From its transfiguring anguish must be born
                                             Pure flame, as if it had known for itself
                                             Of cross, of passion and the martyr's pyre.
                                             And as from flowers that are invisible
                                             Fragrance is blown, so from the vanished image
                                             Fancies came thick, heart-troubling, honey-rich.
                                             And I had woven my own enchantment then
                                             And become slave to it.  But remembrance came.
                                             There had been nothing seen, nothing at all
                                             But a radiant shadow in a blur of light.
                                             Was it all self-begotten fantasy?
                                             O agony of uncomprehended being
                                             That I might never know why those divine
                                             Dawn-maidens with so pure a lustre dwelt
                                             For an Instant within me. Or why I dreamed
                                             A martyrdom of innocent heroic youth;
                                             Why an heart-aching love.  O did her spirit
                                             Carry in secret all its history,
                                             Its starry dynasties from heaven to earth?
                                             Was it whispered into my spirit in passing?
                                             Did I imagine all from my own depths?
                                             Is there a summit of being where the spirit,
                                             An undraped fire, flashes its fire within
                                             All other spirits, withholding nothing?  Are
                                             Our secret exaltations, ecstasies,
                                             The loves more intimate than earth has given,
                                             The martyrdoms as dark as Calvary,
                                             Are they all born in that intensity
                                             Of innumerable, interlinked being?
                                             Is it because there nothing is withheld
                                             And we are made richer by dream than life,
                                             Our deepest love is given unto beauty
                                             We have never seen, to lips we have never
                                             Kissed nor heard in confession of love?
                                             O might it be that in those reveries,
                                             The moralist calls idle, there is wisdom
                                             More precious than their virtue distils for us!
                                             Our imaginations may be but flakes of fire
                                             That drift upon us from the burning clouds
                                             About a being that knows the innermost beat
                                             Of every heart.  Was it from that exhaustless
                                             Secret well the soul of Shakespeare drew
                                             To give us creatures that are not of himself?
                                             O could our idleness grow to such virtue!
                                             Our lonely reverie break into multitude!
                                             How unwavering the will, how stern the heart,
                                             To receive unbroken all that revelation,
                                             The being of many risen within our own!
                                             I tremble, fearful at the first glowing of
                                             The magic-lovely, dragon-haunted air,
                                             Where all beauty is shadowed by its demon,
                                             And we are at once blessed and betrayed.
                                             O child, who set my thoughts flying so far,
                                             The ripples from thy passing feet have spread,
                                             Not dying away, but gathering power to cast
                                             Me heavenward, dizzy on their foam of light,
                                             To beat at blazing gates, to cry on the Innermost
                                             To know why I am so shaken by a shadow:
                                             Not even a face seen, no heart-troubling eyes,
                                             Only some wonder I imagined dwelling
                                             In a radiant shadow in a blur of light.

First Love

                                             What treasure would we not have poured
                                             At the white feet, when love had power,
                                             If beauty that we had adored
                                             Were tender to us for an hour.
                                             I pass these burning memories. I
                                             Run on to find a child who lay
                                             On the warm earth, made tender by
                                             A love breathed up from the dark clay.

                                             How can I win that love again?
                                             All I could bring to earth it owns,
                                             What sacrifice must be, what pain
                                             To be in league with these gray stones!


                                             Thou slender of limb; thou lightness;
                                             Wild grace that flies
                                             Over the shining sand
                                             Under cloud-brilliant skies:
                                             What beauty flies within thee,
                                             Sped from what skies?

                                             Thee for an instant
                                             The god possesses,
                                             Is joy in thy fleet limbs
                                             Gay feet and flying tresses.
                                             His lovely thought of thee the artist
                                             Delights in and caresses.

                                             Thou shalt remember hereafter
                                             Through sorrowful years
                                             That wonder of all thy moments,
                                             And pine for through tears.
                                             This moment that shall be for thee
                                             A fountain of tears.


                                             How could she know, that child who thought
                                             So lovely pure the tale I told,
                                             Within what obscene pits were wrought
                                             The ores to make her fairy gold?

                                             How could she know through what dire strife,
                                             From what dark martyrdoms, there spring
                                             The resurrection and the life,
                                             The glow within the psyche's wing?


                                             The wave of life breaks there in froth,
                                             A golden turbulence;  and there
                                             Proud boys, their thoughts gilded and gay,
                                             Dance with their women light as air.

                                             What Thought digs wide the pit of space?
                                             What Will keeps the fierce stars apart?
                                             What Titans build the dancing floor
                                             For this soft indolence of heart?

                                             While magic trifles, lips and eyes,
                                             Catch at me through the wandering glow,
                                             My heart feels moving in its deeps
                                             The Great Deep's tidal under-tow.


                                             Why Sit I here communing
                                             With shapes of the dead mind,
                                             The outworn perfect beauty
                                             The gods we left behind?

                                             Though here all gods are gathered
                                             The wonder has not grown.
                                             The gods speak to us only
                                             From their own natural throne.

                                             Not here, but in wild places
                                             Where wind and water reel
                                             In ecstasy, light-stricken.
                                             The gods may there reveal

                                             The forms that hold the sceptre,
                                             Brows bright with more than gold;
                                             All that through lips of wonder
                                             The sibyls breathed of old.


                                             That wild rose blossom
                                             In sunlight or moonlight,
                                             A fountain of its own beauty,
                                             From hollow to height
                                             Casts up its winged airy petals -
                                             Transfigured light.

                                             It shapes its delicate images
                                             In light that all may see,
                                             East, west, on height, in hollow,
                                             Wherever eyes may be,
                                             The vain lovely prodigal
                                             Will give itself to thee.

                                             O'er every bloom a nimbus
                                             Of its own beauty rayed.
                                             None by another's glory
                                             Was cast into the shade.
                                             It seemed the hollow of heaven
                                             For each alone was made.

                                             Wonder! wonder! wonder!
                                             I saw in vision there
                                             Myriads of fairy fountains
                                             That cast upon the air
                                             Their foam of phantom blossoms,
                                             Upon the mystic air.

                                             What could that light so laden
                                             Be but the thought of One
                                             That to the heaven of heavens
                                             Can in an instant run,
                                             Bearing that myriad beauty
                                             Wider than moon or sun!

The River

                                             There below me on the hillside where the glaring
                                                                                          lantern burned
                                             O what gay good-nights were shouted as the children
                                                                                          homeward turned,
                                             Running on the mountain ridges where the dizzy lantern made
                                             Monstrous moths upon the midnight, flaring wings of light
                                                                                          and shade.
                                             Soon the merry voices faintly died upon the distant ridge,
                                             And the giant moth had dwindled to the flicker of a midge,
                                             And its light was lost amid the village lights of earth
                                                                                          and sky.
                                             Then a vast and silent river seemed to roll and pass me by.
                                             On its tide the gay fleet-footed boys and girls were
                                                                                          borne afar
                                             To the port where sweep the golden galleons of sun and star,
                                             With their merchandise of monarchs, glittering legions,
                                                                                          tumult, flame,
                                             And the heaven-assailing spirit and the clod without a fame,
                                             In the anchorage of silence drop and vanish.  As I lay
                                             All but the desireless spirit seemed to roll and pass away.
                                             And that spirit whispered to me:  Time is but desire:
                                                                                          its waves
                                             Hurry onward on their flowing only those who are its slaves.
                                             As I lay upon the hillside, I, whom love had lost and fled,
                                             Knew I could be lost for ever and was strangely comforted.
                                             Then that high desireless spirit in the stillness came
                                                                                          more nigh,
                                             Breathed within me for an instant, for an instant it was I.
                                             For an instant I was nameless and unto myself unknown,
                                             Nor knew I what looked on creation from that mountain
                                                                                          seat alone.


                                             How grave this night are earth and air!
                                             The darkness hides under its fleece
                                             The sombre stones 'mid which I lie
                                             In their profundity of peace.

                                             Above my savage couch I see,
                                             Dark glowing through what endless heights,
                                             The secret majesties of space,
                                             Its still innumerable lights!

                                             More ancient than all human love,
                                             There lies between these things and me
                                             Love, that through many a birth and death,
                                             Shall grow as vast as that wide sea.

Two Voices

                                             Body Speaks

                                             The world wanders away from me.
                                             Beauty and love are clouds gone by.
                                             Heart is bereft of melody.
                                             This that is left:  O, is it I?

                                             Why should a gorgeous cloth be spun
                                             Bedecked with gem-like eye and wing,
                                             Emblems of soul, as robe for one
                                             That is, disrobed, so pale a thing?

                                             Now all the colored winds are gone
                                             Heart has not strength even to mourn.
                                             All's numb but eyes that stare upon
                                             The dust to which they shall return.

                                             Soul Wakes

                                             So, when sweet temple voices tire,
                                             Will some one of a baser throng
                                             From sleepy fingers steal the lyre
                                             And drone to it so vile a song.

What Home?

                                             O, How I wreaked my childhood's spite
                                             When I first dwindled to this day,
                                             Thinking on my lost wonder world
                                             That was so very far away.

                                             And now my heart has come to rest,
                                             Or the green earth has homelier grown.
                                             Its children creep into my heart,
                                             Woodland and water, hill and stone.

                                             When I return to walk amid
                                             The thrones of light, O shall I dream
                                             Of the lost earth, a cloudy hill,
                                             A shadowy vale, a flickering stream!


                                             Beneath those sweet contented voices
                                             A lovelier discontent,
                                             All unknown to the gay singers
                                             From hidden voices went.

                                             Hardly a breath, almost inaudible,
                                             A tone from distant spheres,
                                             That wrought within me that enchantment
                                             And stayed my listening ears.

                                             Was it the buried spirit in them beating
                                             Its love-fettered wings,
                                             Prisoner within the heart and weeping
                                             For what immortal things?


                                             It is half an indignity and half a delight
                                             To know in age that I am but a child
                                             Kept in a nursery.  And yet we must
                                             Be children of a king, pardoned so oft
                                             Our passion fits, immodesties and noise,
                                             Washed clean and dressed in shining raiment.
                                             Here In this wide palace of air my spirit glows
                                             With the gold and silver that it looks upon
                                             As if it had never paddled in the mire.
                                             Some majesty it must be ordered this
                                             Transfiguration, the drapery of light
                                             That I might come fitly unto the feast.
                                             And this deep music of being in me, how
                                             Could it be played upon my jangled strings
                                             But by a master to whom the broken heart,
                                             The listless will, the self-despisings, are
                                             But notes that in the spirit melody
                                             Had lost their sister notes, and sounding these
                                             All breathe together in one melting chord.
                                             O, what profundity, what gentleness
                                             In power, to take what's base or fearful and
                                             To find its place in beauty.  I begin
                                             To guess the infinite wisdom of the king,
                                             And to what stature we must grow to come
                                             To our inheritance, how airy delicate
                                             The fingers holding the sceptre, and how deep
                                             Must be the vision in brows that wear the crown.
                                             For with what calm the princes of the stars
                                             Carry the madness of battle on their orbs,
                                             And yet the multitudinous agony
                                             Must be theirs also.  Are not the hands that strike
                                             The stricken heart, within their sovereignty?
                                             I sigh to think of all the toll to be
                                             Ere we, who cry out at a prick of the thumb,
                                             Can in the inexorable cavalcade
                                             Ride on the power.  And yet there is a joy
                                             In contemplating the heroic gods,
                                             The labor of the high, unshakeable ones
                                             In whom the king has trust.  For have we not
                                             An infant spark of that which in the gods
                                             Can pierce both heaven and brothel with its light
                                             And be seduced neither by love nor hate,
                                             But with the secret wisdom of their king
                                             Weaving the richness of the universe
                                             Into the least of things.  So in our dark
                                             Are breathings from the stars:  no car but there
                                             The majesty whispers itself:  there's no exalted
                                             Thought but the king gave unto it its light.
                                             Dazed by excess of riches we do not know
                                             That we are heaped with gifts from all the gods,
                                             Microcosmos unconscious of itself.
                                             And with this wisdom childhood ends, and all
                                             Its songs are sung.  I know a door has closed
                                             Behind me and I can never again with joy
                                             Live in that house.  The arts that once were sweet
                                             Would now be bitter in using.  For not death
                                             Which brings us back to life can take away
                                             Age from the spirit.  When again I try
                                             To learn the starry alphabet of life
                                             All I have passed through will be emptiness,
                                             And only that have power which draws me to
                                             The circle of wisdom.  O, that I might be
                                             A nameless vagrant without home, who yet
                                             Could cry to the winds "Brother" as they pass,
                                             And nod back at the stars, and so adore
                                             The visible beauty that I may pass into
                                             All that I contemplate, and feel the trees
                                             Growing within me, men live, winds blow, seas roll
                                             In the inner glory.  Being so myriad I
                                             Might forget I had a self and let the fullness
                                             Be counselor unto me, and move as those
                                             Born of the spirit, its messengers, whose ways
                                             Are undecipherable as the winds,
                                             And come at last after long tutelage
                                             Nigh to the circle of wisdom, to those who shine
                                             In ageless beauty and with smokeless light.

To One Who Wanted A Philosophy From Me

                                             You tell me of my songs you cannot fit
                                             Their thought together, so contrary the lights.
                                              I cannot help you to the sense of it.
                                             We rise and fall, have many days and nights,
                                             Make songs in both;  and when we are in our pit
                                             Gaze back in wonder at our own endless heights.

The Spell

                                             Now as I lean to whisper
                                             To earth the last farewells,
                                             The sly witch lays upon me
                                             The subtlest of her spells:

                                             Beauty that was not for me,
                                             The love that was denied,
                                             Their high disdainful sweetness
                                             Now melted from their pride:

                                             They run to me in vision,
                                             All promise in their gaze,
                                             All earth's heart-choking magic,
                                             Madness of nights and days.

                                             "These gifts are in my treasure,
                                             Though fleeting be the breath;
                                             Here only to wild giving
                                             Is love made fire by death.

                                             "This spell I put upon thee
                                             Must, in thy being burn,
                                             Till from the Heavenly City
                                             To me thou shalt return."

A Farewell

                                             I look on wood and hill and sky,
                                                                                          Yet without any tears
                                             To the warm earth I bid good-bye
                                                                                          For what unnumbered years.

                                             So many times my spirit went
                                                                                          This dark transfiguring way,
                                             Nor ever knew what dying meant,
                                                                                          Deep night or a new day.

                                             So many times it went and came,
                                                                                          Deeper than thought it knows
                                             Unto what majesty of flame
                                                                                          In what wide heaven it goes.


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