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A Spiritual Legend - Poem by Philip James Bailey

There were who spiritual legends feigned,
Half lofty, half profound, not nigh half true,
Believed, or seemed; whereof one instance hear,
As erst by early Gnostic of the Nile
Taught; garnished and enlarged in later years.

Ere all, in ancientry aeterne, was God
(Holy and blessed alway be His name)
In essence inconceivable. He in space
As luminous fulness, pure perfection dwelled,
And in an infinite unity. Coaeterne
With God (for ever blest and worshipped be
His name) and contrary to Him as good
Was matter, mother of all evil, end
And centre, caused by Deity nowise. Light
And darkness are the emblems of these powers,
And ensigns. From their opposition comes
Of good and evil like necessity;
While death and body, life and soul, compugn.

From the All Being Father (Love his name,
Mercy and Grace) the Spirit first was born,
The spirit, thence the Reason, called the Word;
From reason, Providence; from providence
Came Power and Wisdom; wisdom Righteousness
Joyful brought forth, and power almighty, Peace.

God's light through His trine essence self reflected,
As through an infinite prism, and like the sun,
Of heaven's great bow the sevenfold hues producing
These seven blessed spirits, attributes divine
Which do His essence designate, evolved.
He, in His own substantial deity,
The same, to whom the septenary stars
And days of time be consecrate, conceived,
Issued and vivified, with Him to live;
Æonian beings of divinest strain.

Of these the twain, hight Power and Wisdom, joined
In holy union, forthright generate
Angels of highest rank and noblest force,
In nature godlike, and in number such
As saintly calculations dedicate
To heavenly orders; such, on Thracian mount,
The maiden muses, sacred to the sun,
Who, hand in hand, with ominous laurel crowned,
Roses or stars, do hymn the universe.

Pure and beneficent these; inferior still
To their progenitors, as they to those
From whom they boast their birth. These first composed
A heaven wherein companionably to dwell,
And to delight each other. From them sprang,
Native to thrones and glories unconceived,
Angelic generations, rank on rank,
And heaven on heaven, innumerably spread
Down through the starry crystalline, in clouds;
Each order forming its own coelestial home;
Like numbered with the daily circlets of the year.

These all the dominance supreme confessed
Of the Æternal, in one mystic word
Abraxas, since, on many a jasper gem,
Of talismanic and regenerant force,
Insculptured--hailing Him their total lord
And Spirit Father. They, meanwhile, who dwelled
Of the angelic nations, in the last
And lowest round of all the heavens which stretched
Its confines to the dark material mass,
Malignant, uncreate, inert, self--lived,
Which lay, a weltering chaos, deep below,
Felt, as their glittering pinions oft they poised
In level flight above its stormy face,
And gulphs of unpierced wonders, vast desire,
Heightened by warm debate among themselves,
Their neighbouring state to soothe and purify;
And form, leave sought of God, first, and obtained,
Since theirs the limits of the angel realm,
A race of beings fitted therein to abide,
Branch forth and govern other lower lives,
To be for their behoof created. Fired
With this imperial and divine intent,
Through the three hundred three score spheres and five
Of super--imminent hierarchies, flew up
A band eclect of the aetherial powers,
Who carried rapture on their snowy wings,
Unto the footstool of the omnipotent One.
There, breathing low their wishes and desires
Made holy by the end, to enlarge God's reign
And purify and dignify the mass
Of matter, dark and void, with creatures apt
For such estate, though lower far than they,
God hearkened, granted leave to do their will,
And proffered more even then. Plenipotent
The suppliant ambassage returned; their brows,
As through circumvolant myriads on they passed,
Bright with the sense of God's imputed power,
Flashing delight. Benevolent they went,
Creative they returned; and to their hosts
Of fellow immortals all their triumphs tell.

Grand was the joy throughout those radiant tribes,
Lift to the zenith of celestial bliss,
And instant impulse urging to begin
The work orbific; glorying in their plans
Of future suzerainty and wide spread sway
Among new worlds of creatures yet to be.

God taking thought, Himself, of sun and star,
With whom to think, indeed, is to create,
Those heavenly isles of light, of light profound,
Light within light, the bright abodes of bliss;--
Chaos, the rude conglomerate, co--aeterne
With all Divinity, they first commenced
To soften, free and sever by degrees,
From multiform confusion, into fixed
And elemental sections. Thence appeared,
The all genetic waters and clear depths
Of air's unseen but palpable flood, wherein
The water--mountains melt, in themselves drowned;
The youthful breeze; and fierce gigantic storms,
Allies of evil and confoederate fiends,
Which the sun's variable heat obey;
The virgin fire, inviolably pure;
And earth's all mothering bosom. Soon, distinct,
Ocean and continent, sea, desert, plain
Mineral and vegetive, concrete, complete,
By separate hand, each Power a separate type
Framing, to grace his will, or prove his force,
Of stone, earth, tree, plant, shrub, grass, herb, or flower,
Mountain, or isle, or river, lake, or well.

The angels made the solid earth; its rocks
Chaotic and amorphous, petrified fire,
Granitic, oolitic; sand and lime;
Igneous and aquatic beds of stone
Upheaving or collapsing, seemed, in turn,
The awful sport of some Titanian arm,
Whose elbow, jogged by earthquakes, wryed the pole.

The angels wrought the mountains, bulk by bulk,
And chain by chain, serrated or escarped,
Or coal--red burning from Vulcanian forge;
Hekla and Mouna Roa and Auvergne;
Tuxtla; and Tongarari, southwards isled;
By savages beset, who deem when dead,
Their chieftain's eyes translated into stars;
Andes and Himalaya's heavenly heights;
Dhawalaghiri's pinnacle supreme,
And Chuquibamba's cone of roseate snow;
The hill Altäic named the almighty god,
By Tchudic tribelets of the age of mounds;
Higher than lark can soar, or falcon fly,
Cloudlet, or visible vapour scud, it stands;
Oural, and Balkan; Alp, and Alp pennine;
The magnet mountain which directeth earth,
Brainlike, ensconced beneath her snowy crown;
Lupata's mighty spine; Lamalmon's pass,
O'ertoppling; Abba Yaret's glittering peak;
Ankobar's, Medra's ranges; all that ring
The desert heart of slave--land, or thence stretch
To the Cape of Storms, and lion of the sea;
And Erebus antarctic, fenced with ice.
Marmoreal mountains, by their radiant hand
Polished to white perfection, so to prove
A beauty beyond use, the angels piled;
Kailasa, and the aetherial mount Meru,
Dazzling the sun with gems; Larnassus green;
And Athos, and Montserrat, holy heights,
Mountains of monks, and hills of eremites;
And that Kropakhian, wonder--mountain named,
Without, within; whose central fount obeys
With an obsequious volume, the moon's wane
Or increment; and that funereal spur
Of dark black marble that beglooms the air;
Or, walling earth, the spirit--haunted Kâf,
With many a mythic marvel crowned of eld;
That crystal mount (cloud crested, once it stood
In western Tucuman) with bright reply
Answering the solar messages of light
As equal equal; deep below its base,
O'erarched a navigable river runs,
Rumbling its rock pent breakers, white with wrath;
Or where, mid central isthmus (on each hand
Pacific and Atlantic tides) is built
Coy Iximaya and the precipitous gates
Of that recondite capital, haply doomed
To vanish into cloudland; the idol rock
Mackinaw vaunts, where red braves, worshipping,
Prophetic murmurs of oracular shell,
Shrined in its ark, hearkened; and holy Tor
In many a land to deity devote;
Divine Alborz, the holy mountain named,
Where, sunlike, the Simorgh, all--wise, abode,
Moon--peaked; or mount oracular of the gods,
Olympus blest; and either sacred Ide;
In that bright isle where Rama reigned, the peak
Whereon the print of Bouddha's foot (esteemed
The last of gods) or Adam's, first of men,
Hallows the land to pilgrims of all creeds;
And thee dread Sakhrat, pendent once in air,
Now fixed; once soft as heart of man to grasp
Prophetic; 'neath whose saturated roots
All fountains rise; plomb underneath the new
City of God; upon whose crest shall stand
The stern archangel when with judgment trump
He hails the generations of our race,
Those living, those whom hollow Hades holds:
All these and countless more the angels wrought,
While dear they were to God and kind to earth.

The angels trenched the rivers; and unsealed
The secret wealth of many a fountainous hill;
Where Oby, now, or sunny Kour, for wine,
And virgin gold, and hapless virgin slaves,
Renowned, flows; holy Boug; or warlike Don;
Or Po, by Goths imprayed with murderous rites;
Or that, beneath whose bed the wasteful Hun
God's scourge, lies coffined; (so, shall onetime sleep
All evil, 'neath the covering flood of love
Where Darro, by the mountain of the sun,
Sweeps with steep wave; or Guadiana dives;
Or where the rivers flow, of life, of death;
Volga, or legendary Rhine; or Rhone,
Vine--banked; or Thames, with the world's wealth and that
City of cities, crowned with golden spires,
The towers of God, enriched; Isis, or Cam,
For love of wisdom famed, and Clutha, sung
By warrior harps of old days; there, where now
Ohio broadens, or gross Missouri dims
The deepening sire of floods, aye tiding on
His current deluge to the gulphy breast
Of central seas; or, Niagara hurls,
Precipitant, his thunderous waters down
Their crescent steep; or silver river, south,
Through grass--flowered Pampas pours recoiling wave,
Prescient of blood fraternal ere the end;
His face with intertwining snakes alive,
Thick as the savage tribes that tread around;
From Boreal ice--floes where all waters cease,
To Magellanic straits and land of fire;
Where pagan Saghalien iced to his bed
Three seasons yearly, steals; or sacred Sinde;
Or Chandra--bagha, holy to the moon;
Or Brahmapootra, fling o'er bordering meads
Their annual floodlets fruitful; or Hoang--ho
Through fragrant tea fields winds; or where, with palms
Embanked, barbarian Quorra; there men trade
In ivory, gold, and blood; nor far remote,
Who the divine child, babe aeterne, adore,
Unconscious deity; or Zenhagal,
With gum--woods girt; or Gambia; or, rock--brinked,
That by Mataman, townless land, rolls; that
Kaffrarian, endless called; and (only found
Late--while) who through the island continent glides,
His current dwindling seawards, dark Moray;
While Araluen's golden footed nymph,
From rocky urn caerulean, teems her tide;
Hydaspes; branchy Gyndes, fabulous floods;
Orontes, on whose slopes the wine of gold
In ripening globules glows, whereof, at eve,
Roused from his stony solitude of walls,
By turbaned traveller with his camel train,
Not seldom sips the hospitable monk,
His cup commending to the bearded lip
Of smiling stranger, garrulous in signs;
And that sabbatic river, which, to flow
The seventh day, ceaseth piously; these all
And more, innumerable, brooklet, beck,
Rill, runnel, rivulet, the angels made,
Administrative of terrestrial wealth,
And will coelestial, while at one with God;
And rivers subterrene booming through caves
Down to earth's focal fires, still inextinct,
And flaming floods, whence, dashed, they reascend,
Volcanic vapours, and explode the hills;
And linn, and force, and torrent; Corra's foam;
Thy falls unfailing Rhaiadwr; and thine,
Shoshonee, wreathed with shifting rainbow mists;
And those of Dekkan Ghauts, earth's loftiest leap.

The angels reared the islands; that of yore
Neptunian, where the sea--god righteous ruled,
And his ten sons, now sunken in mid sea;
And that Panchaian, where Triphylian Jove
Judged from his mountain chair the sacred soil;
The starry islet wandering with the wind,
Pure of all death, the birth--place of twin gods;
For sun and moon praesolar light precedes;
Bacchic and Cytherean isles; those spread
Sporadic or cycladic; Cyprian soil;
And Rhodian, sovereign of the sacred sea;
That isle, the sun's, whose sacred slaughtered kine
(When the bull led the constellated round
Ere by the star of storms, gigantic, smote)
Caused to the wise world--wanderer floods of woe;
The wingèd island, flying round the world,
Walled high with gold--bright crystal, giant--kinged;
And fairy Avalon, still where Arthur rules,
Sole as the sun in heaven his shining shrine;
Stern Hertha's, stained with the sacred blood of man;
Elysian islands, all--felicitous, holy,
Where dwell the blessed Immortals, years divine,
The elemental sequences of suns,
And ages everlasting of the heavens;
And Bolotoo, the paradise of gods,
Far off in western space, a land of shades;
Where, to chance wanderer, for the future bound,
And searching for some secret lost to earth,
Tree, temple, tower and grove--clad hills present
But permeable forms; through all he stalks,
As through a builded vision; wall and bark,
And cliff, close round the path he passeth through
Unharmed, as water round a diving gull;
Islands of honey, pearls, and gems, and fire;
The isle auriferous, whose minutest rill
Outbids Pactolus; those which clustering pour
Spices, perfumes, oils, incense, and sweet gums
For human delectation or divine;
Feejee and Papua, men devouring isles;
Black Hayti, the imperial negro's throne;
Niphon, where, temple--shrined, the golden bull
Butts, first, with fiery horn, the egg mundane;
And that Ogygian, westward, where the sun
Utters his final smile, and gleams his last
Through groves of worship dedicate to Fate;
And those white isles whose pre--antiquity
Transcends all date, the primal seats of gods,
Truth, science, song, and all commanding mind:
All these, and countless more, the angels made,
While dear they were to God and kind to earth.
The angels scooped the lesser seas and lakes;
Baltic, and Midland, soundless; and that womb
Of nations, on whose life--devouring shore,
Far jutting into the black and boisterous deep,
Sebastopolis, key of empire, stands;
The pool Maeotic, worshipped as a god
By Scythic hordes, and Amazonian dames,
Militant, jealous of the dexter breast;
And Caspian, deep below whose silvery wave
God's Eden hideth, and the hallowed glebe;
Aral, Vân, Baikal, holy lake, most vast
Of mountain meres; and Tahtar Kokonor;
Ladoga shoal, deep Leman; isleted
Lomond, subterraneous of access;
And many an iceless and unfathomed pool
On mountain crest, or cowering at the foot;
Ontario, Winnebago, and the Slave;
Yutah's; hard by where the polygamous sect
(Misled by one self--unctioned, not anoint,
Nor golden oil of genius had, nor truth,
Who, from the brook the lines of lacquered lead
Sham angel--forged, dug out; who, after, fell
Shotted with three times Caesar's trickling wounds--
Ill--doer he, ill--done by bide their hour,
Dreadless; the great Saline; and Aztek, bowered
With floating pleasaunces, where sailed the swans
Of sway symbolic; Amucu, golden banked;
Or Titicaca, from whose sacred shores,
Long ages lapsed, the scions of the sun,
Manco Capac and Mama Oëllo, stepped,
Ancestral, to the sceptre of Berou;
Nyassi; Ngami; Mrima; Zana, and that
Lake of the gods, whence Nile, or white or blue;
And wide Nigritian Tschad, still inexplored:
All these, and countless more, the angels made,
While kind they were to earth, and dear to God.

Desert and steppe they smoothed; the waterless sea
(But haply once where tide tempestuous rolled)
Of Aphric Zahara, where the sand--wave heaves
'Neath the simoom, parched, poisoning man and beast;
Kerman's sands salt--white, swept by flamy wind,
Plague--breath'd, which rousing up the desert dust
Blinds man's bright eye, and mummifies the frame;
There oft, in arid dell the cool Suhrab,
Calm mockery of sweet waters, overhung
With green and succulent shrubs--you seem to hear
The ripple of the waves--delusive lurks;
Chamo and Kobi, and the central wastes
Of Austral isle, where range the tameless tribes
Who hurl the bomerang, and, hunger spent,
Do mess on their own blood, dis--seised of sense;
And those by Baku, where, through wimbled cane,
The holy flame of universal fire
Jets from earth's heart, upwards, to join the sun;
Saronian downs, and many a misty moor,
Where aches the eye with objectless survey,
And long dun moss, they spread prospective; now
With cromlech crowned, gray cairn, or fairy knoll;
Or lithic dance of giants 'neath the moon;
Hurlers or wrestlers who have justly earned
Their stony transformation; or some crew,
Godless, that to the air of fiendly flute
Footed, contemptuous of sabbatic chimes;
Now, days of rest millennial, in their ears,
And voluntary thunders, drone in vain;
And wold and wilderness, where nightly flit
The grosser sprites that haunt these nether skies;
Unmarked, in day's broad glare, the moon's moist eye
Reveals, to those who see, the filmy form;
Drowned lands and verdure--ous meadows submarine
Where water turtles pasture, wandering free.

Plains planned the Angels then, and champaigns vast,
Savannahs, Pampas, prairies; deeming earth
One garden fit for gods; and seeded them
With grass and herb of every wholesome growth;
Shamrock and trefoil, symbolizing Him,
In lowliest form who them, their makers, made;
And pulse, and sesamum, and flax, and vetch;
With pearly rice, white wheat, and oats (of old
Gold--washed for the imperial Roman's steed
Majestic maize, and metamorphic rye;
Millet and lentil, and a thousand grains,
As many and as immixed as Psyche slipped
Through her sad fingers, thrall and lost to Love;

With homeliest roots of thyme and mint and balm
The breezes they perfumed and purified;
And that heart--soothing herb, not less renowned
Than lote, nepenthes, moly, or tolu,
Held to untaint from sin the savage soul;
Weed of the west, that on Virginian plains,
Or fields of fair Habana, moon--beloved,
Lifteth its long lush leaflets; youth and maid,
(Scion perchance of some Soudanian chief
By hordes of woman--warriors, slain or slaved)
Tending with nicest tact, till it become,
Beneath the toned and educative hand,
A roll of natural incense; weed, that wild,
Climbs prophet Lebanon; and, fragrant, fumed
Through amber'd jasmine, wiles the sultry hours,
By plashing fountain's creamy marbled marge:
(To him who sang man's fall, the eve of life
This lightened; and his restiff heart assuaged,
The pilgrim bard, whose days these closely heel
Of ours, who in the aftermath of time
Live; for fame's harvest long ago was got
Vervain and magic haschisch, which endows
Thought with ubiety, and waking mind
Clothes with the dread delight of dreams; and kiff,
Soul gifting with expansive extasie;
Madder and plants stellate, and watchet weed,
By rudest fathers used of the mountain isles,
Three--peaked, the golden, beautiful, and white,
Conclusive of the wisdom of the west;
Orris and henna, for perfume or dye;
Mandrake and onion (hallowed wisely once,
In nome Bubastean, sacred to the moon)
Whose coats concentric figured forth the spheres;
As though considerate nature, who, betimes,
Man's facial features casually reveals
In stony fracture or tree--trunk, reframed
In miniature, that man might ne'er forget,
The holy image of the sphere--filled air,
And earth, embraced by heaven, the core of space.

They with fair fruit--trees earth an orchard made;
With rosy apple, purple fig, sweet pear,
Date, honey--pulped, green glowing olive; peach
Orange and citron, with their gilded rind;
Sun--juiced muscat, and all the hallowed vines;
Guava and nectarine, mango, plantain, plum;
And that translucent pome, whose cloudy core,
Seed--studded, glows detected, as it hangs
On its slim branchlet, vibrant in the breeze;
The tree transformed of some unhappy god,
(Tale immemorial told in Tonga's isle)
Whose fruit is vital bread, man's noblest food;
And that, lactifluous, from whose flower--tipped stem,
High towering, the Caraccan Indian drains,
At day--dawn, creamy draughts, to all his kin
Dispensing, patriarchal, bowl on bowl;
The vast Baobab, like--aged with ocean's tides,
Within whose cavernous and sepulchral trunk
Meet village senates, lawing peace and war
To dusky tribes, or, in its templed bole,
The idol gods adoring of the land,
Arboreal fane; fair thorn, as yet unkinged,
Unsanctified by woes of brow divine;
(We gild the thorns we put upon Him now,
But, ah, they pierce!) whose berries, blood--like red
Still speak of holiest, still of heavenly ends:
While dear they were to God and to earth kind,
All these, and countless more the angels made;
More than infallible engine, for an age,
Accomptant pauselessly, or clerk, on slate
Or abacus ten--stringed, could sum. With woods
And treeful tracts the provident angels clad
What else were lifeless deserts; where now stretch
Forest and upland frith, and the wide weald
Hercynian, where the demon shadow stalks;
And the Anderidan boscage, by divine
Andate, all--victorious goddess, held;
And glades, where, rambling, in long after years,
The outlawed archer led his banded bows;
Siberian forestage of spiry pine;
Oaks, which oracular in Dodona spake;
And equatorial groves that mat the shores
Of Maracaybo, to Maragnon's streams,
And falls of Tequendama; (these were rent
Ere yet the moon rode aëry the hoar woods
Of growth eternal, continental reach,
That all enclose, from gold--rocked Labrador,
To florid lands that seas Columbian lave;
From ocean's gilded sands, by Kalamath,
To silvery Zazaticas and Secklong;
Banyan, and temple cedar; gopher, planned
Ark--wise of God to float man o'er the flood;
Laden with life, hope of the world to be;
With treasures vaster than that bark, whose freight,
(Spoils of the sack of Rome--tyrannic queen,
Of bonded nations ravished--the gilded roof
Of Jove's high capitol, the seven starred lamp
And golden table of God's temple, won
By Vandal, king self--crowned of earth and sea
And their affiliate isles) storm--sunk, but served
With ivory thrones and busts marmoreal, gems,
And jewelled caskets, armlets, torques, and rings
And carquanets impearled, and coffered coin
Of conquered states, to startle or adorn
Sicilian sea--nymphs in their billowy play;
Cypress, the leafy mourning nature wears,
Dear to the dead and to the field of God,
Where lurks, in spade--turned furrow, seed death--sown,
Divine seed, to be harvested in heaven;
The poplar native to the land of shades;
Myrtle and ebony; dragon--blooded tree,
Coaeval with the stars; sun--hallowed palm;
Sweet--scented sandal, spared for sacred rites
Walnut and chestnut, beech, and ash, and elm;
Wych--hazel, for divining treasures used;
And ruddy rowan, proof 'gainst blackest spell,
And ghastly charms of witches, air--elate;
And that which, like the skies, tree, sad by day,
Buds forth at eve its starry blossoms, bright
And odorous, but in sunlight, bloomless mourns;
And that beneficent stem, in islands grown
Named Fortunate of old, whose top, with clouds
Nightly encompassed, soon as morning beams,
From leaf and ramage sheddeth cool bright showers,
Freshening the fountless soil; matron and maid,
God thanking for his daily gift, with joy,
Brim high their globular gourds from every bough;
And that once common to the world, but since,
To one main isle confined, wayfarer's tree,
Within whose veins condensed the essential dew
Flows fontal; while its flowerets, purely white,
Lamplike, allure the wanderer to the wood,
Where he may shade his limbs, and his lips lave;
That tree all fruitful, first and best of things,
(Such by Damaras deemed; naked and black
Their bodies like to their benighted minds)
From whose umbrageous branchery human fruit,
Fruit holy, fruit immortal, fruit divine,
In sacred ripeness dropped; or that, mayhap,
Whence, chipped by giant woodman, man, brute, bird,
Fell, flew, or, merged in water, swam as fish;
So fable Arctic folk, tribes sparse and spare,
Whose crooked crones, in glittering huts of ice,
(When the vivific sun, world conqueror he,
Closing in peace his serpentine career,
Quenches in snow his thunder) to their youth,
Sharpening the bone--tipped javelin for the morse,
Quaint legends gabble of their primal eld.

With arborescent canes and ferns they decked
Marish and mead: and sands and hills, else bare,
With shrubs gum--pithed, gum oozing; such were myrrh,
Camphire, and cassia, spikenard, balsam, clove;
(Angels and all good spirits love perfumes
With many an odorous plant, both hill and vale;
Angelica, and honeyed melilot;
Day's--eye and king--cup; fairy foxglove, fern;
And violet, crown of the sad Lesbian muse;
Crocus, pale purple or golden; hyacinth,
Skirting with azure haze the foot of woods;
Asphodel and narcissus, Hadean blooms;
And gore--dyed poppy, dedicate to death;
Moonwort; sweet meadow queen; and silver--weed;
Tulipa, dahlia, sunflower, aster, rose
Damask and white, of holiest silence sign,
Of love divine, love perfect, love aeterne;
The fragrant tuberose scintillating light;
Dianthus, flower of God; and, loved of woods,
The wind flower, blooming faithful to one day,
As Damon to his friend; the iris, eye
Of heaven; eyebright; and winter's flowers of gold;
The lotus, emblem of the sacred birth
Of all from water, pure as spirit seed,
Snow blanched, or blue; dew of the sea; and those,
The mistress, and the glory of the night;
The flame flower, glowing like to carbuncle;
Kamschatka's scarlet lily, foodful root;
Nile born papyr, and serpent creeping flower;
Sumatra's floral miracle, the font
And baptistry of flowers; the tea rose pale,
In central flowery realm of brightness born;
Magnolia; and tall Yucca's bell--crowned mast;
Bogota's regal lily, whose broad and raftered leaves
In some calm creek expatiate, wood enzoned;
And that night--blooming marvel which, when all
Its flowery kindred, dew drowned, sleep, spreads forth
Its radiant cup, and like a midnight sun,
Illumes the green gloom, and perfumes the dark:
The watery knot--glass, with the blood divine
Sprinkled, that grew beneath Christ's hallowed rood;
Innumerous, the bright blooms whose fragrant speech
Befitting comeliest love, the orient brides
Wreathe into poësies, the angels wrought,
While dear to God (ere eyes divine yet shed
Immortal tears, as the amber droplets wept
By daughters of the sun) and kind to earth.

The angels then with founts the park mundane
(From Athabascan cape, mornwards, to where
Miako's gilded god, colossal, sits;
From Anadyrsk to Patagonian point,)
Graced; cool and tepid; these perennial, those
But intermittent; founts that torches fire;
Founts, that presageful of the tempest, howl;
That ebb and flow contrarious to the main;
Or synchronous; deep springs of bubbling brine
Inland; sweet waters 'neath the sea; and that
Far scalding, still self--petrifactive fount,
Whose separate wavelets hardening, stone by stone,
Yield mansions to the builders on its banks;
Founts scorching, founts petrific, founts of flame,
Ice--cold to touch; founts honey sweet; the rill
Which, sanguine, staineth gules the bordering flowers;
Fountains of ageless youth and maidenhood;
Fountains of love and of disdain; and that
Which Kai Khosrou, fore--warned in sleep, beheld,
(Oracular vision) and far journeying, found
At last, but, therein bathing, disappeared;
The burning springs that o'er the Caspian's face
Fear--shrunk, afar their fiery furrows drive;
The serpent source that hisses as it flows,
Whose venemous wave all life instinctive shuns,
One breed alone, connatural, thence exempt;
All these and countless more the heavenly tribes,
Whose names are noted in coelestial tongues,
Bade forth by the divining wand of will;
All wells on earth, save thine, divine Zemzem,
Through starry strata strained, and musky loam
Of paradise; (there moon--browed maids of light,
Immortal, dwell, and from the lakes of bliss
Their star--cups fill--thou afterwards wast born.

Unfathomable caves and moss--green grots,
For mysteries or retreat, the angels made;
For vision and prevision; travelled trance
Of spirit, through coelestial circles borne
Prophetic; those of Patmos, Paros' isles;
Abdera; or the Arab's desert cell;
The cave Iberian, where Tubal abode,
Which great Alcides, after, amplified;
For magic rites and secrets darkly famed,
Phantoms, and necromantic wonders; wealth
Untold, unhallowed; death to all who sought;
The vaults Tartarian where the Titans groaned;
And those where still the rebel angels hang,
Heel skywards, in hell's ante--chambers, chained;
Nyont's Æolian arch whence gush the winds
Incessant, sighs chaotic; and those caves,
High pitched, in Erin's isle, or Anglian peak,
With floors prismatic, purple crystalled walls,
O'er--roofed with sparkling spires and pendent stars.

Metal and mineral then the angels wrought,
Gold, silver, copper, iron, and all ores;
Marbles; and gems, of virtues potent signs;
The crystal, prevalent over gods, and hid
Close in the hand, assuring heavenly help;
The achate, wealth adductive, and the mind
Of the immortals gladdening, maiden's love
Winning, man's friendship; jasper, to the gods
Delightsome, and potential bliss to earn;
The topaz, aidant in all holy rites,
Prayer favouring; opal, dear to deities,
Prophetic and heroic; magnet chaste,
Of all--persuasive effluence, speechless power;
The crimsoned coral, emblem of the soul,
Reared in life's stormy deeps, the deeps of death,
From mischief fending and hate's fatal glance;
Sunstone, which every phantom foul dispels;
Oracular starstone, warning weal or ill;
And bloodstone, symbolling earth, the gate of God's
Æternal temple, with the life divine
Sprinkled, prognostic dread; the diamond, sweet
And grateful to the gracious spirit throng;
The starry sapphire of celestial blue;
Ruby and emerald, jacynth, amethyst;
The amber, emblem of divinity,
Which with electric influence soul allures;
The pearl conceived of dew and lightning, type
Of that pure maid--birth yet to bless the world:
Yea, cups of pearl, one pure and solid pearl,
Greater than that in Haleb's slab ingrained,
With natural nimbus (so pre--figuring
The glory round earth's kingliest blood) enringed,
Divinest relic in time's temple niched;
And that smaragdine mirror (their chief toy
Which all the angels wrought, each gifting it
With some unique perfection) after owned
By Israel's wisest, who the tongues of bird,
Brute, angel, men knew; the king looked therein,
And eyed the passed, of any wished--for age,
Apparent as in life; event, or fact;
And when solicitous of the future, he,
Steering by somewhat steadier than the stars,
Had breathed thereon, with the evanishing reek
From off its disk, he all the coming conned
Limned in that talismanic tablet clear.
Gems larger, lovelier these than all now known;
Richer than those twin rubies, called Caneques,
By kings of Auphir, kings of heaven and earth
Self--titled, oft in angry blood--bath dyed;
Or those that on the seven great gods illume
The hall of gold in royal Arakhain;
Whose heads with diamonds, breasts with rubies flame,
With sapphires, emeralds, pearls, their limbs and feet,
And regal robes, rigid with woven gold;
Brighter than those the eastern soldan's throne
Pavonian, star; victorious Britain's now;
Than those bright armlets, adamantine pair,
The sea of light, and mountain, (now from sea
Far severed,) seals and signs sublime of power
O'er west and east; more tempting to the touch
Than all encrusting false Fenella's fruit,
With deadly art contrived; or those by Rhine,
Shrined round the heads embalmed of sainted kings;
Finer, in fine, than all that now adorn
Earth's circular board, (the table once of gods,
And whirled by angels through the void inane,)
Set deep, or surface strewn, they scattered wide,
From Hungria, to Golcond and isles Molucques,
And nightwards, to Brasil; from central Koosh,
Kumara, and the emerald mount, by Nile,
To Ceylon and Altäi; soft, pure gold
And silver, from Potosi to Yeutaw,
The angels sowed the beds of rivers with,
And serpentine and granite deep ingrained;
For boon they were to earth, and blessed of God.

Then, last of all, the animal world they framed,
Each life--infusing angel, tribe on tribe,
Higher and lower so with mediates linked
And interlapped, that all on all might pend
In mutual sustentation. First they filled
The seas with fishy natures, which assumed
Later, Vishnoo, and mixed Oännes claimed
And glorified in memory of the first
Great form of life, anticipative, perchance,
Unconscious, of that newer birth so typed,
By signs Phoenician of divinest names;
Shark; dolphin, lover of the lyre, for more
Than one sublime adventure starred; vast whale,
The ocean beast, whose jaws, like hell's gates, once
Yawned to ingulph the recreant prophet, cast
By crew fore--fated in the ravening deep;
Ketus, and ork, and kraken; remora, apt--
Blow wind, flow tide--a ship to check, full sail;
Seahorse and seal, old ocean's flocks humane;
Sword--fish and saw--fish, sun--fish, ling and ray;
All that by coast or firth in endless shoals
Or van, or rear, heave shorewards, or the depths
Who, lonelier, haunt, and deathful; all who through
The weedy streets and gilded chambers glide,
Of submerged cities, scornfully content,
Nor wink their cold white eye; thro' marble grove
And coral copse they fan their wavy way;
Dorado, shimmering with all brilliant tints;
The wingéd swimmer of the deeps, and all
That flout the whirlpool, down whose swirling maw
Voracious of all life, the shrieking ship
Plungeth; (as into a net baited with light,
Bats) and dread Mäelstrom, navel of the main;
Dace, barbel, pike, and every fluvial fin.

Terraqueous embouchures with lizards lank,
Gluttonous, hide--winged, with horn--lidded eyes
And murderous hearts they filled, devouring death;
Monstrous and loathly reptiles, such as him
Apollo slew, Kadmus, or Æson's son,
Or Jove--born demi--god, or sainted knight,
Or Perseus, on the shore by Joppa; not now
To man known, save as serpent of the sea,
Eldritch, huge, (ocean--churner called in Ind,
In Norland, Jormundgandr,) whose hoar mane
And visage sadly human, reared mast high,
Appals the dumb--struck mariner, as he nears
At gloaming the blue headland; those ashore
Weening they glimpse some Pharos, by its eyes;
The terror of the weald, with spiky spine;
Cayman, and alligator, crocodile,
Emblem of mystic silence and of God,
(For ever blessed and worshipped be His name
The fire--winged drake of Greek and Arab tales;
Boa and cobra, dipsas, and the snake
By red men hallowed in the western wilds,
Which nested nigh the well of waters bright,
And annual multiplies its rattling rings;
Asp, adder, basilisk; and those the Moor
Wreathes round his limbs, or in his bosom curls;
Vipers that charm the song--birds to their death
By one long glistering glance, transfixed; or those
That fascinative seek the tender breasts
Of wilful maids, and sing their souls to sleep;
Or such as him, less rare in years of yore,
Who, by Bagradas, memorable worm,
Rome's host braved singly, singly suffered siege,
Waged war, till, by arblast and catapult,
And burning darts, self--firing as they flew,
Quelled, he at last capitulates with Death;
His shining slough to swell the conqueror's pomp.

The air with birds they flocked; oracular dove,
Thrice holy in tradition from the egg,
Hid by Aturian turtle, and the flood,
To Jordan's sacred streamlet; raven false;
Night's song bird, lover of the moon; the lark
Blithe trilling in the blue, when spring's warm breeze
And pearly flowers, and brooklets bubbling clear,
And innocent sun, welcome the new--born lamb;
The vulture, all maternal, typing thus
Earth, mountain crowned, the glory of the sea,
And mother of us all; thee, bright--eyed hawk!
Soul--emblem, sunwards soaring, as to God;
(Adored and honoured ever be His name)
The eye--plumed bird, King Taous, who, so starred,
God's garden entered, but crawled out, a snake;
By winning lost; wise--sighted owl; and swan
(Sire, by the light, of Heaven's twin orbs, mis--told)
And sacred stork, thought human soul disguised;
Ibis, destroyer of sin's viperous brood;
And flamy heron; halcyon heavenly blue;
Lone contur, nighest to the star of day
Ranging, of wingéd life; the painful pelican
Self--sacrificial; cormorant; doomed dodo;
Giant--paced mooa: ostrich, feathery steed;
Bright humming--bird of gem--like plumeletage,
By western Indians living sun--beam named;
Macaw; and gold--green parrot, human--tongued,
For craft and wit predictive famed of yore;
Auk, albatross, and storm--birds of the deep;
And bittern moaning by the lonely mere;
Yea, every flying thing that wings the winds,
The rivers of the air, with spirit--like
Ubiquity in non--essential space,
The heavenly framers shaped and beautified,
For omen, augury, and song divine;
And paradisal fowl, bright bird of God,
Sole life unfiled of earth, or versed in aught
Less pure than air. Air, too, with the insect race,--
Gold--bees that boom in lilied palaces
Whose walls breathe odours; sphinges of the eve;
Moths; flutter--flies, all hued, like wingéd flowers,
On violets pasturing, their congenerate food;
And flies, which once gave title to that God
Alike mysterious in life's least of forms,
And greatest; locust; and the lamping tribes,
That light belated wanderer on his way,--
The angels plenished. With beasts fourfooted, earth;
Mammoth and mastodon and deinother,
(Vast as leviathan or serimnar,
In vain demolished--on the morrow, whole);
Dreadest of brutes, whose teeth as tombstones shewed,
Limbed like an oak; but all swept off by heaven,
Creation at the flood revising; huge
Aurochs; and megatherium; elk enorme,
Whose antlers spread like oarsman's oars well plyed;
These, dying, deigned not fall, but bade their tombs
Close o'er them, an' they would; such sepulture
(By glacial Lena, or Nerbuddah's banks,
Or Mississippian swamps in earth remote)
Had they, erect, and osseous monument;
Yâk, bison, ounce, and elephant sagest beast;
Camel, and llama, costliest sacrifice
Of conquering Araucanian, who the world's
Essential spirit worships, and on whose shores
The mount of thunder, buoyant o'er the flood,
Paused, in its world--wide wanderings; beaver wise;
Bear honey--tongued, or, prowling round the pole,
Lord of the land of snow and towers of ice,
Where many a night of months the auroral arch
Broods o'er lost graves; and fox of fabled fame;
Chaste unicorn, whose generation's known;
And stag, in saintliest legends sanctified;
Fleet--footed horse; and noble--hearted hound,
Faithful to man as to the wine--god, he
Dog of the sun, in tropic travel tried,
Now basking by the solar hearth; or hers,
Coelestial huntress, Dian's dogs divine
Led in their leash of light; or he who guards
Orion's spacious steps; or good Dherreem,
Sung by Beyaussa, in the mighty war
Of Kouroo and Pandoo; four--footed friend
Of righteous rajah; he (that kingly kin
All vanished into bliss, and deified,)
Left lone at last, shook off the shape canine,
And shone heaven's primal virtue, peer of gods;
Goat, gladly blazoned on Jove's sun--bossed shield,
Adored as Pan, or Mendes, but in name
Ashima highliest honoured; zebra barred;
Tiger; lithe leopard; puma leonine;
And he whose tufted horns tree--tops o'erpeep;
Rhinoceros; river--horse; ghor; agile ape;
Baboon, too manlike, hutted in the woods,
Social, erect, club--armed, soul wanting sole;
Grim--tuskéd boar, of evil choicest type
Whom ancient myths in the heavenly north instarred
Feigning the summer sun to have o'erpowered,
And urged to death solstitial; earth, meanwhile,
The beauty of all beauties, who emerged
From water first in shelly car, wept showers
And turbid streams till thy joy--hailed return,
O light of lights; and trebly spheréd reign.
All these and myriads more the angels made,
Lords of the desert's savage sands that drink
Warm reeking blood, or browze or graze the mead;
While yet they loved the earth and wrought for God,
(Holy and honoured alway be His name,
Sole, aeviternal, universal cause);
But, ah! too soon they changed; and changed was all.

Thus made that host the world of sentient life,
With fittest forms peopling the elements;
But eagle and ox and lion, these alone
And one still nobler make, cherubic shapes,
Were of Himself devised by heaven's supreme;
Monarchal in their nature o'er all else.

With one surpassing instance all to sum
Resolved the demiurgic host, and sued,
Once more to that high end, God's promised aid.
The angels therefore by His will made man;
His upper limbs these framed, his lower those,
The chain columnal and the vital light,
Informing nebulous the limbs, which still,
Death after, lives in ghostliest symmetry,
Or fills the accustomed place; others, the flower
And constellated organs of man's brain,
Which do the interior tree of life o'ersphere;
Its nervous roots and branching arteries;
Both male and feminine, whose harmonious forms,
Conceived accordant with divinest mould,
He hallowed with His eye, and perfected
With holy approbation; to the life
Instinct wherewith they lived and felt and moved,
And all the twin--born passions of man's heart--
That variable orb, now great with love,
And hope, now murk and mean with slavish fear--
Adding His gift, a reasonable soul,
Whereby the good from ill they might secern,
And spiritual from intellectual aims.
These souls Himself created, for all time,
And in the stars reserved, until their day;
To each allotting its appropriate orb,
Bard, warrior, sage, king, merchant, priest or slave.
As a free gift and guerdon for their zeal,
God (ever honoured and revered be His
Name) to the formative angels gave the world
They had wrought out of darkness, and adorned
With every living miracle; and man,
As head and end of all its dignities,
In delegated royalty to rule.

Thus earth, embraced of heaven, and core of space,
Was plenished, furnished, finished; and that all
Both reasons and results of things might see
Of those creative, arbitrative now,
High in the unconditioned infinite,
God set the crowned and dominant laws of life,
In everlasting senate there to wield
The jurisdiction of the universe;
Impersonate yet abstract; and from the first,
Fixed in the super--solar skies, to all
Existence as exemplars;--being, cause,
Substance, size, quality, action, passion, mode,
Form, order, change and harmony and rest;
Duration, timeous and aeterne, and space;
Motion, development, vital energy;
Will, intellect, perception, various sense;
The bounded and the infinite. Progress, there,
Majestic compensation, royal right,
Affection, instinct, reason, virtue, bliss;
Tall--sceptred law, and loin--girt liberty;
For as defect is so is freedom; fate;
Perfection pure and death--enduring life;
The purgatorial strife, love--closed; the war
Whose end is Heaven's inviolable peace;
All summed, self--seen and sanctified, in soul,
Whose union with the unity divine
Creator and created conciliates,
Concluding all things in its boundless curve.
Night, Nature's rule, and great exception, light,
Prone gravity, and vast inertia grown
One with her seat; attraction, with the smile
Fadeless; repulse, death--destined; ill and good,
Arch--gerents of God's throne, surrounded all.
While close below the throne bright Nature, there,
Perpetual maid, perpetual mother--bride,
Sits, gladdening in her splendid offspring spread
Through starry space, indigenous to heaven;
Of seed divine, blest heirs of deity.
Angels and spirit hosts of human strain,
Bright levies of the light, in myriads massed,
All sate in silent service, till one soul,
Tuneful and luminous as a singing star,
Stepped into light, and in the immarbled ear
Of the convergent infinite, sang of God
Larklike his lone lay. Then a choir the same
In stately revolution traced, truth--taught,
Of power project through all effluxive spheres,
To the coelestial refuse of this orb,
In a perduring emblem all the heavens
Still study with their centre--searching eyes.
For in the great progression of the whole,
An ever falling fall and rising rise,
Of men and angels, takes perpetual place,
Up even unto the pre--seraphic thrones;
For the foundations of the abysmal world
Are laid in imperfection, and the all
The purifying pain of fire divine
Must pass through, in its holy reascent
To the supreme perfection of pure cause.
For the time was when God was God alone
And nothing but God was. He then withdrew
A portion of His essence, in that space,
Girt by the infinite, the world became;
Contrast with its creator, but a point;
A point ideal child of nothingness.

These things in vision God the angels shewed;
Whereat they trembled and were troubled; still
Earthwards rewinging with prospective pride,
They meditated pure delights, and reigned
In thought triumphant, independent gods.
The angels, thus, launched each on his own wild will,
Apportioned all among them, 'stablishing
In various countries variant roots of men,
Giants and dwarves and Æthiop manikins,
And pygmies; (these the tall indignant cranes,
Angered by broken treaties, drove and drowned
In sea--pools; first of victories marine
And those in just majestic medium made;
All somewhat diverse; all assemblant still;
Whence ray the lines and brotherhoods of man:
The sea--born seed, too, earth--born, mountain--born,
Titans and Cyclops, Gog and Magog, sons
So called of gods, Corineus, Corcoran,
And those, Hrimthursar hight, who norwards held
Frore Jotunheim, contemning gods and men;
The Anakim and Æmim of old writ,
And Og the king's sires, of Talmudic fame;
And those in sundry lands and legends known,
Whom Herakles or Rustam, or Antar,
The sainted seven, or prince of Frank romance,
By Dhami, or Durlindana, deathful brands,
Reft of their slaughterous souls and hurled to hell;
Or those who from Ierne through deep sea,
By long basaltic jetty, and pillared pier,
Whose columns, capped with crystal, thick as canes
In Javan jungle, stand, sought sure access
To Albyn's kingly clans, and fate--stoned throne;
Or those, who in Loegria, or the Lionnese,
(Inundate now for ever) or on shores
Armoric, in chivalric volumes sung,
In towers of brass abode, or burnished steel,
That all the region round illumed, with throng
Of damsels dungeoned, and brave knights unhorsed,
Fire--breathing dragons guardians of their gates;
But all, in fine, by some proud paladin
Of table round, or peer imperial, quelled.

Especial spots choosing for pristine tribes,
They sank the sites of cities; after reared,
By such portentous architects as built
Louqsor, Medina Thabou, all that rests
Of hundred palaced Thebes; the columned maze
Of either Karnak, Gallic, or of Kham;
And that once built, men say, in Arab wilds,
By great Shedad, city occult, whose walls
Towered in alternate tiers of silver and of gold;
Where bright Herat, city of roses, lights
With dome and minaret the landskip green;
Damasek old, old Byblos, or Babel;
Or Tchelminar; or Baalbek; or where Balkh
Mother of cities, murally encrowned,
Mourns; or Thibetian L'hassa, templed seat
Of an incarnate Deity, where still
Mix Shamans and the Lama's lieges; those
Urging the stars, these, with machine--made prayers
Their transmigrative god; so shaming earth
One of the beaming brotherhood of stars,
But all alike weak in the Æternal hand;
These, by coelestials learned, were they who piled,
Progressive from the Aleutians to the Basque,
Oracular Logan and Main ambre; these
Who, twixt the vales of salt and vulgar gold,
Not far from Guadalupe's aurifluous stream,
(Richer than rubied Oxus, azure--cliffed,)
That westward seeks grey ocean's barren brine,
Mysterious domes, in matted forests hid,
Builded; and then evanished; elsewhere, those,
Who heaped the cross--famed fire--fanes of Palenque,
And towers so high she eagles nest thereon;
Copan and Zapatero and Uwfmal;
Or vast Cholula's terraced pyramid;
Or Subtiaba's palaces, the seats,
Cities and holds of royalties unknown,
(More numerous, maybe, than those named in song
Of proud Fardusi, Paradisal bard
The unrecorded Dynasts of old days,
Who, in some holy and archaic tongue,
On altars graved high anaglyphs, and gave
Divinest meaning to each natural form;
Thus did the immortal angels, while of man
And earth forethoughtful and inspired of God;
(Exalted be His name and glorified
One city, the dark city of the dead,
Men founded for themselves, and furnished fast
With skeleton foliage of the tree of life,
And stony leaves dropped from the book of death.

But lo! all light must sometime suffer eclipse;
If light and darkness freely coexist.
All power corrupts the potent, not constrained
By special grace prevenient. Thus they ceased,
Those once most virtuous angels, step by step,
Scarcely perceptible, half unconsciously,
From that pure will and primal excellence
Whereto they were connate; seeking, at first,
Their own names, to the tribes each emperor'd,
To magnify, and so become their gods;
In lieu of teaching man the one supreme
To worship, God; whom all alike were bound
To honour and adore. Through this they fell;
(No longer kind to man, whate'er to God
The angels fell, and drew down earth with them.

The fall is universal in all spheres,
For finite spirit wherever tasked to keep
The counsels of divine perfection, fails.
The starry story of one primal pair,
Twin pillars to the portals of life's fane,
Or free--born deities, free as stars are fixed,
And the coelestial serpent, sun--conceived,
Wants not, where'er is life; but whether graved
On Elohistic columns rent from rocks,
The missals of millennial patriarchs;
On palm--foil writ, or purple pulp of flowers,
Illumined with all literal loveliness;
Or virgin vellum, rose gilded and perfumed,
Shrined in the bosom of some cloistered saint,
The same sad tale perpetually commands
The astral annals of the universe.

Nymph haunted stream, and river deified,
Hallowed in after eld as from their hands,
Angelic and creative, risen, vain rites
Received; with lamplets studded, and with wreaths
Votive encrowned; and consecrated flowers;
While mounds of worship, sainted by the sun,
And natural altars, starwise dedicate,
Joyed in high names of generative light.
Ages of water, alternate with fire;
Chaos and aether; the invisible heavens;
Earth's aeras, and the periods of pure air,
Commemorate were in terms divinely apt;
While over all ranked prëexistent speech,
Conceptive wisdom and aeternal mind.

But gradually, a separate interest
Insinuate once betwixt themselves and God,
Among each other hostile interests sprang,
And schemes of empire basely politic;
One name of God each took, or masculine
Or feminine, for deity hath both,
Begetting and conceiving and self--sprung,
Some title of divinity, unto which
None saving God had right; that so they might,
As substituted lords, the rites receive
Due to the alone Æternal; and His name
Blot from the hearts and memories of mankind.

Such were the Lord of Heaven, Baal Semim, whom
Phoenicia worshipped, and, in sequent years,
Those in the holy island of the west,
As lord of light, of fate, of wealth, of power,
Of gifts, of glories; such the father of fire,
Hephaistos, or Ifestus, whom by Nile
The wise Ægyptian honoured (he who reigned
Long ages ere the cometary earth
The stars disturbed with presages of woe,
To Heaven's great family, in herself to be
Concentrate and accomplished to the death,
As in a fiery whirlpool) first of gods,
Ere yet gave time one hint of dawn; the same
Whom later Greeks named architect of heaven,
And in oracular hymns, Orphic and old,
Dictated by the sun, all--conquering hailed;
Such was the lord of waters, league--invoked,
Whose witness was the everlasting well;
Hormuzd or Ilus such, who when he had made
Espendermad, fair tutelar of earth,
Khourdad, and all the rest, her brethren bright,
The blesséd Amschaspands, and lit the stars
In the aetherial hyaline, himself
Æternal sire of light, his strength for that
One future, final, all composing strife
Saved 'gainst the lord of evil (he, of Yezd,
Prudentially still worshipped) from the world
Routed to be, and thenceforth rooted out
For evermore, with threefold thunder--fires;
Such Zeus, the living one, the saviour, hight;
Such ancient Kronos crownéd king of time,
God of the golden age, the heavenly state,
Monarch of space and all celestial orbs;
And he, who grasping loftier title still,
Styled himself Heaven, the fountain of all light;
Astarté such, the star--nymph, who in gloom
Of groves delighted, sacred where to death
She might her Hadean lord at full beweep;
Whom Asian tribes Shemiram, Mother of Heaven,
And 'mong their mingled gods the Ansarij hailed
Lady of light; she moonlike round the earth
Errant, picked up a fallen star at Tyre;
Then o'er the altar stretched her sceptral cross,
Her pre--millennial cross, thrice--hallowed sign,
Vital, and elemental, and divine,
And consecrated it;--the Dove--queen such,
Who boated o'er the ocean in the moon,
And silvered every billow as she passed;
Such Viricocha, deity of the sea,
Adored by kingly Incas, and the courts
Of solar virgins blooming;--such 'mid isles
Hid in Pacific deeps, Möooi, stretched
Full length, gigantic shorer up of earth;
High title his, sustainer of the world.

But soon in angel breasts ill passions bred:
Oppression followed rivalry, too soon
Symbols and signs of terror were, in place
Of love, God's own and holiest title, ta'en;
And the divine to finite passion changed;
Then first the primal lamb, the shepherd's joy;
Next, human victims bled; and passed the babe
Through baptism of blood and fire, to peace.
Such pre--atonement naught; whilst stormiest wars
Angel with angel waged, and god with god;
Each striving most to broaden his domain;
Propelling his adorers to invade
Root out and ruin all of faith opposed.
The heavens were rent with lightnings and the fields
Of interjacent space, as the high powers
Now heated to malignity, oft closed
In thunderous conflict, till the fire--breathed hills
Grew iced with fear; and quaking, earth beneath,
Reeked with the blood of brethren, brethren--slain.

The angel of the ocean--flowing Nile,
And he the heights of Lebanon who held,
And he who, where Hidekkel gulfwards darts,
Ruled with an absolute crown, for ages strove
With changeable success, and interchanged
Mishap, but each evolving changeless woe;
So too the Persian Angel and the Greek,
Contending, fanes and altars were defiled;
And myriads of belligerent worshippers,
Through vain ambition of immortals, slain.
One thing was common to all nations; woe.
Sin, vice, and luxury, with their flower--wreathed rods,
Reigned o'er the reckless nations; life on life,
Made, like that cruel tower by fair Shirauz,
Of living souls impacted, limed with blood,
Time's generations mounts of misery.

Not all, nathless, was blank; nor blight: to man
One sweet exemption, by God's grace, pertained;
One gift diviner than the angels gave,
By them o'erlooked, not all their mutual wrath
Could ruin or pervert; love, nought but love;
Parental, filial, conjugal, divine.
Life's armies were recruited still by love;
Fond hearts still grew affection, as fields corn;
Still bloomed and fruited with an inner life,
And vintage of delight; still youthful breasts,
Reciprocally fired, imparted joy,
Imported rapture; tenderest converse still,
Sweet as the whisperings of imblossomed trees,
Or the low lispings of night's silvery seas,
Lived on the lips of lovers, then as now,
By fount or mead, or wandering, moon--beguiled,
'Neath tall white cliffs, along shores shadowless.
But of all spirits who mortals most misled,
(O bold, blasphemous, legendary lie!)
Head of the angel race, prime demiurge,
Was he who o'er the wandering Hebrews swayed,
(What time from Ninus' wrath and Asshur's land,
And city--itself a realm--of Nin--Evech,
And the daemoniac fires of the Chaldees,
Came forth the father of the faithful flock)
Pretentious, proud, prohibiting brotherhood.

For ages this continued; till, at last,
In the divine accomplishment of times,
The mind of man (racked with immortal grief)
To which in vain philosophy had lent
Her balm Lethaean, and the ignorant hordes,
Slaves to obscurest idols or impure,
Buddhists or heathen of all faiths uncouth,
Which cloud earth's fairer half, (from Baltic bay
Tideless, and golden gap, where Frank or Lapp
With Meshech's mighty seed justly contend,
Athwart to hills of heaven, and southmost shores
Unbroken, of peninsular Malay,
Siam, Borneo, and the scattered flock
Of islets trending towards the Austral pole)
Sought refuge in barbaric apathy:--
Men cried aloud to God. God pitied man:
And in sublime compassion gazed below.
The eyes of the Æternal, and thine, Christ!
First, highest of all Æons, the Divine
Intelligence, met, midmost in the heavens;
And mercy to the semi--angel man,
Flowed from the vision. Men in secret prayed.
Not all that Indian sages could educe
From their Vedamic founts of knowledge rare,
Fourfold, as in the garden of delight;
Nor Konfutse, nor Gaudma, souls austere,
From Buddhist scrolls, nor Tao, son of truth;
Nor they who Zaradean rites ensued,
As after fall and flood comes final fire;
Nor they who in the city of the sun
The fateful words of Trismegist revered;
Nor they who, smit with curious care, would note,
Plucking the foliage of that fatal flower,
The oracles Sibylline, willed of God;
Whether Tiresias' daughter, Theban maid,
Or Delphic Daphne, or the sun--inspired,
By divine counsel voiced the heavenly verse;
As some in after days Virgilian leaves,
Homeric tome, or scripture sacrosanct;
Nor who from Delian shrine, or Klarian fane,
Rede sought of holiest ambiguity,
Self--guarded, two--edged, waving either way;
Nor the wise seven of Greece; nor Thracian seer,
Skilled in all lore coelestial and arcane,
Who pierced the Hadean shades, and his bright bride
Though serpent--stung, death seized, had half redeemed;
(Alas, not half; man's whole redemption lay
Sole, and to be, still in the breast of God)
Nor he, the white--stoled wanderer of far lands,
Who first the name of wisdom's lover claimed;
Nor he, of Hyperborean fame, who round
The world on golden arrow, white wingéd sped;
Nor grove--priest, opening (from the ship of earth,
Or manual mound, the judgment seat of kings,
Of twice ten roods of land the base immense,)
The sacred secrets of the earth and skies;
From magic or from mystic orgies, none
Could whisper to the world one saving spell
That might the house of death illume; or raise
Even in life the soul to hope and peace,
Or look for ultimàte union with the light.

Nor priest, nor bard, nor mage from secret source
Or patent, Ogham, nor the ghostlier runes;
Nor rolls of birchen bark with mighty lay
Of divination, graven in branchéd signs,
Ere dim tradition; nor from tablets rich
With Auscan god--lore and augurial rites
Of volant fowl; from cane nor palm leaf drenched
With sacred scents, in gilded Pali penned;
Sungskrit, or arrowy Zend wherein the sun's
Vicarious rites were taught; nor Arian, tongue
Of Asian eld trilingual; nor, unnamed,
The foreworld's infant speech, haply entombed,
With archives of the earth's initial throne,
Below black Babel's thunder--thwarted pile;
Nor Arach, arkite city of the moon,
Whose golden crownèd ghosts shall all precede,
Kingly, at doom, though Persargadae's graves,
Roman and Russ, or Norman's vaulted tomb
Yield up their dominant shadows to the light;
Nor where in alabastrine halls, approached
Through forms cherubic, of omnipresent wing,
As in Kouyunjik once, or in Khorsabad,
On sculptured walls, behold the king, with wine
Divining in the presence of his gods,
Mingles his arrows and accepts his fate;
Tamul, nor Devanâgari, writs divine;
Nor Himyaritic wisdom (pointed to
Of old by patriarch Ayoob; type of man,
His seed entire, death slain, regenerate rise)
Rock--scored, whose shadows frown o'er Sheba's sands;
Nor the symbolic meaning wrapped in stones
Snake--headed, volumed over leagues of down;
Nor earliest earth--mound, reared before all walls
By stalwarth savages, in arts of life
Less skilled than feats of death; and who, where now,
Far east and west, resurgent cities stand,
Hounded the hills; some vast and simple faith
Rudely divine, more than our chiselled creeds,
Embracing, as though fallen ripe from heaven;
Nor rifled secrets of palatial tombs
Hearted in Lydian barrows; nor could those
Sepulchral hills sodden with blood of steed,
Henchman, or immolated slave (far round
Earth heaves with tomblets, as the sea with waves)
Mid wilds Kathaian; unprofaned as yet
By art or avarice; nor those mightier mounds
Whereon two days, from sunrise to sundown,
The warrior shepherd shall both herd and flock,
Content, depasture; underfoot, the Khan,
(God's shadow; brother, maybe, of the moon;
Sole refuge of a wretched universe
Sceptred, and swathed within his thin gold shroud,
Sleeps, doubtless, sound; though o'er that sacred head
Shrill sings the boor; he, striding round the base,
In meditative measurement, and round,
Twirls his long lance, contemptuous of the time;
Nor astral oracles the wise might find
On the sun's house, or mansion of the moon
Inscribed in letters of serenest light;
From none of these dead signs came life, came hope,
To man's expectant spirit, nor relief;
The spectral mysteries of the aeternal life
Were not to be explored nor excavate.

Nor Rabbin versed in Kabalistic lore,
In potent ciphers and in names of might,
Aheieh, Matzpatz, Œmeth, On, Elhai,
Aishi, and Baali, Netzah, Agla, Tzour;
Or that which faintly heired the cloud of light,
(Whence God of old by gems spake, and His truth
Responsive gleamed from every glance of fire)
The echoing daughter of the spirit voice;
In spheral talismans and starry seals
The which on vital, vegetal, mental worlds
Do stamp their influence through the elements;
Nor who, in Babylonian gloss profound,
Taught the Ædenic mysteries of man
And maness; how in union infinite,
The fair aeterne, the loveliness supreme,
The heavenly man, the tree divine of life,
Whose branches, spread invisibly through space,
Fruit but in heavenly paradise; pure cause
Of all the beauty of the universe,
And all the vital harmonies wherewith
The light investured sun is resonant,
Mates with the queen of heaven, the spouse of light,
Mistress of mysteries, and bride of life,
The golden ark of faith, the gate of God,
And temple of the king; how in this world,
Man is the representative of the word,
And of the spirit maiden; in the word,
How woman typeth man, man God; in art
Of channel, chariot, fabric, and the twain
And thrice ten ways of wisdom, and the ports
Fifty of all intelligence; though skilled
To excess, who taught the alphabet of life
Angelical and sidereal and mundane,
The holy outbranchings of divinity,
And virtues of the tenfold veils of God,
Stretched from the all essential infinite,
To animastic orders and ourselves,
Earth being last of spheres, of being, man;
Not such, pride--blind, could recognize the true
Divinity to come in lowliest guise;
But for some crowned and sword--girt conqueror,
Throne--born, and in a golden cradle rocked,
Awaiting, they awaited; wait they may.

The angels would not, and man could not save.
Re--track their steps the angels would not; nor
From holiest truths eliminate the false,
And thus with God's, man's mind re--harmonize;
But as, misplaced of purpose, blent their rites
That so from mystery, mystery still might come,
And no solution, no salvation, self
Sufficing, stand within the fane of day.

Virtue and vice were preached of without end;
But as in theories of life men grew
More skilled and perfect, so in practick worse.
That vice is hateful, virtue heavenly, all
Or most confessed; but knew not whence nor why,
Nor how to shun the one, the other win.
For who of the coelestial life could tell
As ascertained, attainable, or lovely,
To beings of nature mixed and finite powers;
And if to all, or learned or simple, free?
To many, or to few? Not he who deemed
Water the origin of things mundane;
Not he who fire; who air; who atoms held;
Nor he who that the All, aeterne, was God;
Not he who first from heaven to earth deduced
Philosophy; and then from earth to heaven
Traced the soul's path by immortality;
And, like a god disguised, died as he lived;
Nor he, the sometime slave, surnamed divine,
Rich in Ægyptian wisdom and all lore
Hellenic, who in Academus taught
The teacher of earth's conqueror, and the hearts
Of tyrant kings softened by gratitude;
Nor they who in the Porch oft dreamed aloud
Their passionless figment of humanity;
Nor he who in the Garden vainly taught
Pure pleasure as man's truest mark and end;
Whose words the very hearts corrupted they
Aimed but to purify; not he who all things scorned;
Not he who doubted all; not even they,
Manly and moderate, honest friends of truth,
Who all the tenable points of others chose
And in one system starred. Nor better fared
The dubious mind, intent elsewhere on truth,
With the self--righteous formalist who prized
The law minutest, if Mosaic, more
Than justice or divinest charities;
Or those, who, utter nothing after death
Argued, against the instinct of mankind;
And so besotted, tyrannously denied
The being of all angels, their's except,
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and all else;
Or such as in ascetic pennance pined
'Mid rocks, wilds, caves, their useless lives away.

Law seemed not that man needed; from the birth
Historic of all empires to that hour,
Menes and Minos, Numa and Manou;
And wise Zamolxis, legislative slave,
Who after three years death his life redeemed;
Sub--slaving to achieve his country's weal;
Zaleucus and Lycurgus and Solon,
The lights of ages, and Rome's tables twelve
Had done what in them lay, of human force,
To better negatively man's defaults,
And social sins and civic crimes decrease;
Injustice all forbidding; but one mean,
Whereby reunion with Divinity
(Which failing, law, philosophy, and faith
Echoes of echoes were and shades of shades)
Might be accomplished, seemed unknown, unhoped.

To some in every land, of soul reborn,
The gifts of wisdom, light and peace pertained;
But who should teach the multitudinous mass;
What truths unfold, and what more fine reserve;
The wisest men were doubtful; and believed
The ultimate indifference of all deeds,
All thoughts, all motives, all intents; the best
Were erring guides; the worst were all but all.
The world was one aenigma; life appeared
A bridge of groans across a stream of tears.

Again the giant world--sphinx, winged with air,
Sun--faced, star--maned, tailed with the rolling sea,
And breasted as beseems the dam of all
Who nourisheth men and beasts, her riddle reads;
And, this time, she the knot divine propounds,
(For sage and priest confess them, both, estranged)
Of how may God with man be reconciled?
Who solves earns well the purple; and thenceforth
With ominous and curseworthy glory wears
His gold--spiked crown. But ah! his end is woe.
He, to his fate divine, uneyes himself in vain;
His tomb is in time's chasm; and the long
Oracular thunders further quest forefend.
In every generation of his kind,
Hero, or priest, or bard, or sage, or king,
There lives but one can solve. Now all were dumb.

But now that Messianic times drew nigh,
In sweet fulfilment of coelestial love,
Paternal, son--like, spiritual, typed
In rites Saturnian, golden--tided years;
God the most High, compassionating the state
Of wretched mortals, thus with reason blessed,
But with material nature cursed, devoid
Of guide infallible, or standard pure,
And ground beneath the crashing rivalries
Of disobedient angels, sent from heaven
His Christ, our Saviour; that He, being born
In union consubstantive with the man
Jesus, true knowledge of the Lord of Gods,
And faith in Him alone, He might retrieve
To earth's bewildered nations; and the reign
O'erthrow of angel kings who thralled the world
With their most fatal misrule; and in front,
The haughty and presumptuous spirit which claimed
Allegiance from the patriarch's house, who led
By him, from Goshen, in C'naan abode.

Allied to our mortality came Christ,
Therefore in godly wise, and humbly great;
Foretold by stars; typed by the wingéd sun;
His life one long perpetual miracle
Upon the sun--clad earth; from lip and hand
Eradiating blessings like the sun.
His words were as a well, profoundly clear,
And deeplier drawn, the purer, more of life.
Mankind with inexpressive gladness marked
His daily walk; touched his health--issuing robe,
And lived renewed; the changing dead his grave
Quitted at one appeal; sinners, their sin
Owned, were forgiven; believed, and were in heaven.

Dreading the whole defection of his state,
The angel of the Hebrews (chosen race
As they o'erweeningly misdeemed, so taught
By their intolerant warden) moved with wrath,
And now inspiring malice in the hearts
Of thousands, his fanatic devotees,
Bade treachery seize and slay the marvellous man.

Thousands revered and loved him; one betrayed.
(Treason most high, most base, most monstrous this,
To mar the majesty divine of Heaven!)
Burning with envy and all ill passions, born
Of man's original corruption, fixed
In fatal flesh, they bound, mocked, scourged and slew
Jesus, the glory of earth; in that dread deed
Of human hate, fulfilling love divine;
But Christ, first Æon, the Intelligence,
Impassible, immortal, 'scaped their toils
(A fiery struggle, fatal to the foe)
By virtue of Divinity, and rose
Into the highest heavens, where now He sits,
The head of all existence, light of God.

For God deposed the angels; and consigned
To purifying penitence; their seals
Of sovereignty He all annulled, and they,
Bidden into black oblivion, cast; as since,
In mountain tarn volcanic, throne and crown,
Sceptre, and all regalia, golden gauds,
The imperial pagan of the west implunged;
In time to come, some needy fisherman,
At close of day, with his last throw perchance,
Shall joyful net a mass--may burnish yet--
Weed--webbed and foul, a despot's diadem;
But He who did the angels, calm, discrown,
Alone can give, again, their primal power.

But he and his, who held, that in that hour,
Of death (hopeful and holy now) thou, Lord!
Thy bodily semblance graftedst on the frame
And face of other, to thy cross subject;
O! he who thus conceived thee, knew thee not,
Thy human severing from thy state divine,
Son of the living God; sole son; and sire
Of the aeternity to come, thou first
And meekest of all martyrs, Christ; the crown
Of saints, the joy of angels; of all life
The glory and the blessing, fount and end;
Whose blessed blood hath whitened all the world,
And clarified creation, conquered death.
Thus, saith the 'spiritual legendist,
They who in Him believe and do His will,
Well willing and well doing to all men,
Shall after death ascend to Him, and see
(Leaving their bodies in the pestilent mass
Of matter, whence originally they came)
His Father's face; the God o'er all supreme.
But, on expiry, the rebellious soul
Shall other bodies enter, time by time,
Till it confess the truth and trust in Christ.

All things are intermediate; God (His name
For aye be praised and magnified) alone
Is first and last; creation circling midst.
The pre--existent life of spirit--spheres
Is that of preparation; on the earth
Probation; after death, purgation; all
Begins, all ends, all mediates sole in God.
This purgatory everlasting is;
The fires aeternal, not the punishment;
Age--lasting and life lasting such alone;
For so long as a man hath lived in sin,
So long the spirit suffers for the sense;
So long for worst offence he may be pained;
So long his inward shadow fined with fire;
So long remorse, as with a burning wrasp
In poison steeped, shall bite his quivering heart,
Till, blanched and purified, sin's pantherine spots
Vanish in whiteness as the wool of lambs.

The virtues and all holiest sympathies,
Preponderating upwards, meet in Heaven;
And in God's bosom centre. And thus love,
The heart's deep gulf--stream, that, with warmer wave
Sun--gilded, soothes the abysses of our life,
And tempers, with its mild divinity,
The universal breath all, partly, breathe;
Hasting to compass its coelestial end,
With a serene progression, makes us feel
In loving God the soul reseeks its source;
Being to being answering, name to name.
And every evil passion which man's soul,
With flesh engendering, fostered while in life,
Becomes, in death, a living fiend; to scourge
With patricidal and Briarean hand,
Its guilty parent, shrinking, shrieking, lost:--
But vanquished, grows an angel, bleached by fire,
Attracting to salvation in the heavens.

Now, all the ills men bear are caused by sins,
Their woes are penalties imposed by God;
(All hallowed, be His name and aye extolled)
And each man suffereth on his own behalf,
What proves God's righteous judgement for offence.

O! vainly, vainly from the contrite soul,
Stabbed with the golden dagger of remorse
For sin, pours forth the penitential prayer;
Death were too cheap a pain; man's life a fine
Too trivial to appease God's proud revenge,
But for thine infinite atonement, Christ!

And it comports with reason; the less ill
Men do, less will they suffer; the more good
Men do to men on earth, the more will God
Do unto them in heaven; for He repays
Always an hundred, ofttimes, thousand fold.

Wherefore should all men purge the soul of sin,
The conscience of all criminal desire;
Concupiscence, ire, envy, hatred, sloth;
The mind of all perturbing passion; heart
Of all propensity which will not bear
Heaven's fullest, holiest light; whereof by Christ,
Immortal mediator of the world,
Man may become the blessed recipient;
And heaven be full of souls, as air of motes
Prismatic, the vivacious seed of worlds.

So with the godlike angels too, at last;
Atoning, by obedience unto God,
(O! doubly blessed and trebly worshipped name,
Of all in heaven, or earth or under earth,)
For selfish rule, inexpiable else,
And penitent exile from affairs mundane,
They, their asbestine expurgation passed,
Exalted by progression infinite,
Through conduct, aspiration and intent
Thrice recreate, shall rise; and round God's throne,
Where, o'er the infinite and immaculate skies,
The rainbow bends its everlasting beams,
Not drops of water but translucent stars
Existent solely in the Æternal ray,
Wherein the spirits, glorified, of time
Coaequal with the universe abide;
Shall they, bright guardians, stand; like dear to God
Both man and angel kind. And when, i'th' end,
Unnumbered times, duration unbethought,
Have passed, shall God (His name be ever blest
And sanctified) another world causate;
The powers of all spirits shall aggrandise;
Make them wise, happy, humble, good, content;
In every thought, design, desire shall reign,
And glorify Himself unboundedly;
Into their hands all mortal destinies give,
And bid them rule and bless wherever stretch His skies.

Thus he, the legend spiritual who feigned.


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