Treasure Island

Arthur Symons

(28 February 1865 – 22 January 1945 / Milford Havens, Wales)

A Brother Of The Battuti


Shed, sinful flesh, these tears of blood,
For all thy vileness all too few;
Wash out, O holy healing flood,
The sins that always in God's view
Stand as a mountain day and night,
A mountain growing up from hell;
Smite, deluge of my torments, smite
Upon the burrowing base, and swell
Up, upward to the very brow.
Shall God no mercy have for me
When thou art shaken, even thou,
Hurled down and cast into the sea?
No mercy? Yea, doth God require
These cruel pangs, and all in vain
To save me from the flaming fire?
Shall all my blood pour forth like rain,
Nor fructify the barren sod,
Nor cleanse my scarlet sins like wool,
Nor turn the burning wrath of God?
Lo, all these years my hours are full
Of sorer suffering than of old
His martyrs bore, that triumphed still,
Gained grace, and heard the harps of gold,
And saw the city on the hill.
I have not tasted flesh, nor fed
On dainty fare, nor known the touch
Of joyous wine, nor bitten bread,
Save mouldy, and of that not much,
Sour crusts, with water old and stale,
And herbs and roots; no rest I take
Save when these vile limbs faint and fail,
But roaming all the night awake
I think on my exceeding sin.
God knows I take no rest at all,
Who haply, resting not, shall win
The final goal before I fall.
Yea, and not these alone; yea, these
Might all men do for heaven; but I,
In suns that scorch, in moons that freeze,
About my shuddering shoulders ply
This biting scourge of knotted cord,
And shout to feel the blood run down.
Wilt thou not think on this, dear Lord?
Yea, when the jewels of thy crown
Thou countest up remembering,
Wilt thou not, Lord, remember this,-
That is not, Lord, a little thing,-
And let me see thy heaven of bliss?
O Lord, my Love, my Life, my Love,
I swoon in ecstasy divine;
Take, take my blood and drink thereof,
A drink-offering of costly wine
Poured out into a sacred cup;
Take, take my blood poured freely out
And drain the winepress' fruitage up.
O Lord, I parch with burning drought,
I, whom the streams may not refresh;
Give me, my Lord, my Love, give me
Thy spirit, as I give my flesh
A living sacrifice to thee.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Edited: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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