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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

To the Unknown God

By Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)

O THOU whose image in the shrine

Of human spirits dwells divine;

Which from that precinct once conveyed,

To be to outer day displayed,

Doth vanish, part, and leave behind

Mere blank and void of empty mind,

Which willful fancy seeks in vain

With casual shapes to fill again!

O Thou that in our bosom’s shrine

Dost dwell, unknown because divine!

I thought to speak, I thought to say,

“The light is here,”—“Behold the way,”—

“The voice was thus,”—and “Thus the word,”—

And “Thus I saw,”—and “That I heard,”—

But from the lips that half assayed

The imperfect utterance fell unmade.

O Thou, in that mysterious shrine

Enthroned, as I must say, divine!

I will not frame one thought of what

Thou mayest either be or not.

I will not prate of “thus” and “so,”

And be profane with “yes” and “no”;

Enough that in our soul and heart

Thou, whatsoe’er Thou may’st be, art.

Unseen, secure in that high shrine

Acknowledged present and divine,

I will not ask some upper air,

Some future day to place Thee there;

Nor say, nor yet deny, such men

And women say Thee thus and then:

Thy name was such, and there or here

To him or her Thou didst appear.

Do only Thou in that dim shrine,

Unknown or known, remain, divine;

There, or if not, at least in eyes

That scan the fact that round them lies,

The hand to sway, the judgment guide,

In sight and sense Thyself divide:

Be Thou but there, in soul and heart,—

I will not ask to feel Thou art.