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Poem by Coventry Patmore
Deliciae Sapientiae de Amore
Love, light for me Thy ruddiest blazing torch, That I, albeit a beggar by the Porch Of the glad Palace of Virginity, May gaze within,k and sing the pomp I see; For, crown'd with roses all, 'Tis there, O Love, they keep thy festival! But first warn off the beatific spot Those wretched who have not Even afar beheld the shining wall, And those who, once beholding, have forgot, And those, most vile, who dress The charnel spectre drear Of utterly dishallow'd nothingness In that refulgent fame, And cry, Lo, here! And name The Lady whose smiles inflame The sphere. Bring, Love, anear, And bid be not afraid Young Lover true, and love-foreboding Maid, And wedded Spouse, if virginal of thought; for I will sing of nought Less sweet to hear Than seems A music their half-remember'd dreams. The magnet calls the steel: Answers the iron to the magnet's breath; What do they feel But death! The clouds of summer kiss in flame and rain, And are not found again; But the heavens themselves eternal are with fire Of unapproach'd desire, By the aching heart of Love, which cannot rest, In blissfullest pathos so indeed possess'd. O, spousals high; O, doctrine blest, Unutterable in even the happiest sigh; This know ye all Who can recall With what a welling of indignant tears LOve's simpleness first hears The meaning of his mortal covenant, And from what pride comes down To wear the crown Of which 'twas very heaven to feel the want. How envies he the ways Of yonder hopeless star, And so would laugh and yearn With trembling lids eterne, Ineffably content from infinitely far Only to gaze On his bright Mistress's responding rays, That never know eclipse; And, once in his long year, With praeternuptial ecstasy and fear, By the delicious law of that ellipse Wherein all citizens of ether move, With hastening pace to come Nearer, though never near, His Love And always inaccessible sweet Home; There on his path doubly to burn, Kiss'd by her doubled light That whispers of its source, The ardent secret ever clothed with Night, Then go forth in new force Towards a new return, Rejoicing as a Bridegroom on his course! This know ye all; Therefore gaze bold, That so in you be joyful hope increas'd, Thorough the Palace portals, and behold The dainty and unsating Marriage-Feast. O, hear Them singing clear 'Cor meum et caro mea'round the 'I am', The Husband of the Heavens, and the Lamb Whom they for ever follow there that kept, Or, losing, never slept Till they reconquer'd had in mortal fight The standard white. O, hear From the harps they bore from Earth, five-strung, what music springs, While the glad Spirits chide The wondering strings! And how the shining sacrificial Choirs, Offering for aye their dearest hearts' desires, Which to their hearts come back beatified, Hymn, the bright aisles along, The nuptial song, Song ever new to us and them, that saith, 'Hail Virgin in Virginity a Spouse!' Heard first below Within the little house At Nazareth; Heard yet in many a cell where brides of Christ Lie hid, emparadised, And where, although By the hour 'tis night, There's light, The Day still lingering in the lap of snow. Gaze and be not afraid Ye wedded few that honour, in sweet thought And glittering will, So freshly from the garden gather still The lily sacrificed; For ye,though self-suspected here for nought, Are highly styled With the thousands twelve times twelve of undefiled. Gaze and be not afraid Young Lover true and love-foreboding Maid. The full Moon of deific vision bright Abashes nor abates No spark minute of Nature's keen delight, 'Tis there your Hymen waits! There wher in courts afar, all unconfused, they crowd, As fumes the starlight soft In gulfs of cloud, And each to the other, well-content, Sighs oft, ''Twas this we meant!' Gaze without blame Ye in whom living Love yet blushes for dead shame. There of pure Virgins none Is fairer seen, Save One, Than Mary Magdalene. Gaze without doubt or fear Ye to whom generous Love, by any name, is dear. Love makes the life to be A fount perpetual of virginity; For, lo, the Elect Of generous Love, how named soe'er, affect Nothing but God, Or mediate or direct, Nothing but God, The Husband of the Heavens: And who Him love, in potence great or small Are, one and all, Heirs of the Palace glad, And inly clad With the bridal robes of ardour virginal.
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