Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  From “Saint Paul”

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Frederic William Henry Myers 1843–1901

From “Saint Paul”


LO, as some bard on isles of the Aegean

Lovely and eager when the earth was young,

Burning to hurl his heart into a paean,

Praise of the hero from whose loins he sprung;—

He, I suppose, with such a care to carry,

Wander’d disconsolate and waited long,

Smiting his breast, wherein the notes would tarry,

Chiding the slumber of the seed of song:

Then in the sudden glory of a minute

Airy and excellent the proem came,

Rending his bosom, for a god was in it,

Waking the seed, for it had burst in flame.

So even I athirst for his inspiring,

I who have talk’d with Him forget again,

Yes, many days with sobs and with desiring

Offer to God a patience and a pain;

Then through the mid complaint of my confession,

Then through the pang and passion of my prayer,

Leaps with a start the shock of his possession,

Thrills me and touches, and the Lord is there.

Lo, if some pen should write upon your rafter

MENE and MENE in the folds of flame,

Think you could any memories thereafter

Wholly retrace the couplet as it came?

Lo, if some strange intelligible thunder

Sang to the earth the secret of a star,

Scarce could ye catch, for terror and for wonder,

Shreds of the story that was peal’d so far.

Scarcely I catch the words of his revealing,

Hardly I hear Him, dimly understand,

Only the Power that is within me pealing

Lives on my lips and beckons to my hand.

Whose has felt the Spirit of the Highest

Cannot confound nor doubt Him nor deny:

Yea, with one voice, O world, though thou deniest,

Stand thou on that side, for on this am I.

Rather the earth shall doubt when her retrieving

Pours in the rain and rushes from the sod,

Rather than he for whom the great conceiving

Stirs in his soul to quicken into God.

Ay, though thou then shouldst strike him from his glory

Blind and tormented, madden’d and alone,

Even on the cross would he maintain his story,

Yes, and in hell would whisper, I have known.