James Brunton Stephens
Knowest thou now, O Love! Oh pure from the death of thy summer of sweetness!
Seest thou now, O new-born Delight of the Ransomed and Free!
We have gathered the flower for the fruit; we have hastened the hour of thy meetness;
For thou wert sealed unto us, and thine Angel hath waited for thee.
Not in disdain, O Love! O Sweet! of desires that are earthly and mortal,
Not in the scorn of thine Art, whose beginning and end is Divine,
So soon have we borne thee asleep through the glow of the uttermost portal,
But in the ruth of high souls that have travelled with longings like thine.
Nothing is lost, O Love! O mine! and thy seemingly broken endeavour
Here re-appeareth, transfigured as thou; yet the Art of thy youth;
And the light of the Spirit of Beauty is on it for ever and ever;
For Art is the garment of Praise, and the broidered apparel of Truth.
Seest thou now, O Love! how Art, in a way to mortality nameless,
Liveth again, soul-informed, love-sustained, self-completing, for aye?
How thy heart's purpose was good, and the dream of thy maidenhood blameless,—
How thy fair dawn is fulfilled in the light of ineffable day?
Seest thou now, O Love! O Fair! how the high spiritlife is Art regnant—
Art become bliss, and harmonious response to the Infinite Will?
Fused and transfused into Love, with the germs of eternity pregnant—
Crowned as the law of the beauty of Holiness; throned, yet Art still?
Not then in vain, O Love! thy dawn, nor the dream of thy holy ambition;
Never a trace of thy finger hath witnessed for Beauty in vain;
In the bloom of the noon of thine ardour thy soul became fair for fruition;
We have smitten the green into gold but to spare thee the harvest of pain.
Nothing that came from thy hand, O Love, made void, cut off, evanescent,—
From the infantile essay that strove with the weapon of outline alone,
To the Angels thou lovedst to portray with luminous plumes iridescent,
Till thy soul drew so near unto us that we took thee for one of our own.
Now may'st thou trace, O Heart! Sweet Heart! from on high all the way I have led
From the youth of a world in the Seas of the South to unperishing Rome;
For the lure of thy following soul was the sheen of my wings that o'erspread thee,
Flushing with reflex of glory the path of thy pilgrimage—home.
By the way of the age of the world I have chosen to lead thee to glory;
Of the wine of the might of the world have I given thee to drink ere thou slept;
Where the Masters have walked I have laid thee, ensphered with the darlings of
I have waked thee a perfected spirit; matured, yet thine innocence kept.
There, too, I led thee to feed thee with prescience and keen imitation
Of the art-adjuvant Grace that hath given thee, a love-gift, to me;
By the work of my hands did I wake in thee foretaste of Transfiguration,—
For thine Angel once wrought upon earth as thou; and his work thou didst see.
Now is thy spirit, O Love, in mine. In thy heart I behold thou dost know me.
I looked for thy glad recognition; no converse of aliens is this;
Oft when thy longings went upward, thy soul, like a mirror below me,
Caught my own loveliest visions in shapes of Elysian bliss.
Name me not now, O Love! O mine! for the name of my days of wayfaring
Still hath the note of a fevered desire, and an echo of pain.
Come thou, O Gift of long hope, to the home of thine Angel's preparing!
There I shall show thee the mercy of God, and the things that remain.
James Brunton Stephens's Other Poems
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