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Death And Birth
by [?]

[Sidenote: The Devil Contempt whistling through the mouth of the Saint Renunciation.]

Now go on, lay stone on stone,
I will neither sigh nor moan.–
Whither, whither, Heart of good?

[Sidenote: Repentance.]

Art thou not, in this thy mood,
One of evil, priestly band,
With dark robes and lifted hand,
Square-faced, stony-visaged men,
In a narrow vaulted den,
Watching, by the cresset dun,
A wild-eyed, pale-faced, staring nun,
Who beholds, as, row by row,
Grows her niche’s choking wall,
The blood-red tide of hell below
Surge in billowy rise and fall?

[Sidenote: Dying unto sin]

Yet build on; for it is I
To the world would gladly die;
To the hopes and fears it gave me,
To the love that would enslave me,
To the voice of blame it raises,
To the music of its praises,
To its judgments and its favours,
To its cares and its endeavours,
To the traitor-self that opes
Secret gates to cunning hopes;–
Dying unto all this need,
I shall live a life indeed;
Dying unto thee, O Death,
Is to live by God’s own breath.
Therefore thus I close my eyes,
Thus I die unto the world;
Thus to me the same world dies,
Laid aside, a map upfurled.
Keep me, God, from poor disdain:
When to light I rise again,
With a new exultant life
Born in sorrow and in strife,
Born of Truth and words divine,
I will see thee yet again,
Dwell in thee, old world of mine,
Aid the life within thy men,
Helping them to die to thee,
And walk with white feet, radiant, free;
Live in thee, not on thy love,
Breathing air from heaven above.

[Sidenote: Regret at the memory of Beauty, and Appreciation, and Praise.]

Lo! the death-wall grows amain;
And in me triumphant pain
To and fro and outward goes
As I feel my coffin close.–
Ah, alas, some beauties vanish!
Ah, alas, some strength I banish!
Maidens listening with a smile
In confiding eyes, the while
Truths they loved so well to hear
Left my lips. Lo, they draw near!
Lo! I see my forehead crowned
With a coronal of faces,
Where the gleam of living graces
Each to other keeps them bound;
Leaning forward in a throng,
I the centre of their eyes,
Voices mute, that erst in song
Stilled the heart from all but sighs–
Now in thirsty draughts they take
At open eyes and ears, the Truth
Spoken for their love and youth–
Hot, alas! for bare Truth’s sake!
There were youths that held by me,
Youths with slightly furrowed brows,
Bent for thought like bended bows;
Youths with souls of high degree
Said that I alone could teach them,
I, one of themselves, could reach them;
I alone had insight nurst,
Cared for Truth and not for Form,
Would not call a man a worm,
Saw God’s image in the worst.
And they said my words were strong,
Made their inward longings rise;
Even, of mine, a little song,
Lark-like, rose into the skies.
Here, alas! the self-same folly;
‘Twas not for the Truth’s sake wholly,
Not for sight of the thing seen,
But for Insight’s sake I ween.
Now I die unto all this;
Kiss me, God, with thy cold kiss.

[Sidenote: “I dreamed that Allah kissed me, and his kiss was cold.”]

All self-seeking I forsake;
In my soul a silence make.
There was joy to feel I could,
That I had some power of good,
That I was not vainly tost:
Now I’m empty, empty quite;
Fill me, God, or I am lost;
In my spirit shines no light;
All the outer world’s wild press
Crushes in my emptiness.
Am I giving all away?
Will the sky be always grey?
Never more this heart of mine
Beat like heart refreshed with wine?
I shall die of misery,
If Thou, God, come not to me.