“Lessening of bliss no comer brings
To us who bear this pearl at breast;
Nor show they flaws nor tarnishings
Who wear such pure pearls like a crest.
Though round our corpses the clay clings,
And though ye mourn us without rest,
Knowledge have we of goodly things.
Through the first death our hope we test;
Grief goes; at each mass we are blest
By the Lamb Who gives us happiness;
The bliss of each is bright and best,
And no one’s honour is the less.”
“That thou my tale the less may doubt,
In the Revelation ’tis told, and more:
‘I saw,’ says John, ’a goodly rout
The hill of Zion covering o’er,
The Lamb, with maidens round about,
An hundred thousand and forty and four,
And each brow, fairly written out,
The Lamb’s name and His Father’s bore.
Then a sound from heaven I heard outpour,
As streams, full laden, foam and press,
Or as thunders among dark crags roar,
The tumult was, and nothing less.”
“’Nathless, though high that shout might
And loud the voices sounding near,
A strain full new I heard them sing,
And sweet and strange it was to hear.
Like harper’s hands upon the string
Was that new song they sang so clear;
The noble notes went vibrating,
And gentle words came to my ear.
Close by God’s throne, without one fear,
Where the four beasts His power confess,
And the elders stand so grave of cheer,
They sang their new song, none the less.”
“’Nathless is none with skill so fine,
For all the crafts that ever he knew,
That of that song might sing a line;
Save these that hold the Lamb in view;
From earth brought to that land divine,
As first fruits that to God are due,
They serve the Lamb and bear His sign,
As like Himself in face and hue;
For never lying nor tale untrue
Defiled their lips in life’s distress;’
Whatever might move them, they but drew
Nearer the Master, none the less.”
“Nevertheless, speak out I must,
My Pearl, though queries rude I pose.
To try thy fair wit were unjust
Whom Christ to His own chamber chose.
Behold, I am but dung and dust,
And thou a rare and radiant rose,
Abiding here in life, and lust
Of loveliness that ever grows.
A hind that no least cunning knows,
I needs must my one doubt express;
Though boisterous as the wind that blows,
Let my prayer move thee none the less.”
Yet, none the less, on thee I call,
If thou wilt listen verily,
As thou art glorious over all,
Hearken the while I question thee.
Within some splendid castle wall,
Have ye not dwellings fair to see?
Of David’s city, rich, royal,
Jerusalem, thou tellest me.
In Palestine its place must be;
In wildwood such none ever saw.
Since spotless is your purity,
Your dwellings should be free from flaw.