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

George William Russell 1867–1935

The Man to the Angel


I HAVE wept a million tears.

Pure and proud one, where are thine?

What the gain, though all thy years

In unbroken beauty shine?

All your beauty cannot win

Truth we learn in pain and sighs:

You can never enter in

To the Circle of the Wise.

They are but the slaves of light

Who have never known the gloom,

And between the dark and bright

Willed in freedom their own doom.

Think not in your pureness there

That our pain but follows sin:

There are fires for those who dare

Seek the throne of might to win.

Pure one, from your pride refrain:

Dark and lost amid the strife,

I am myriad years of pain

Nearer to the fount of life.

When defiance fierce is thrown

At the god to whom you bow,

Rest the lips of the Unknown

Tenderest upon my brow.