The moon may there win no least might,
She is too spotty, grey and grim;
Therein, moreover, is never night,
Why should the moon fill full her rim
To rival the all-glorious light
That beams upon the river’s brim?
The planets are in poorest plight;
The sun itself is far too dim.
Beside the stream trees tall and trim
Bear living fruits that none doth prune;
Twelve times a year bends low each limb,
Renewed with fruitage every moon.
Beneath the moon full well might fail
The heart of mortal to endure
The marvel that did mine eyes assail,
Fashioned the fancy to allure.
I stood as still as a startled quail,
For wonder of its fair figure,
I felt no rest and no travail,
Ravished before such radiance pure.
I say, and with conviction sure,
Had the eyes of man received that boon,
Though wisest clerks sought for his cure,
His life were lost beneath the moon.
Now, even as the full moon might rise
Ere daylight doth to darkness fall,
Sudden I saw with still surprise
Within that shining city-wall,
The streets full-thronged in wondrous wise,
Silent, with never a herald’s call,
With virgins in the selfsame guise
As my beloved, sweet and small.
Each head was crowned with coronal,
Pearl-wrought, and every robe was white;
On each breast bound, imperial,
The Pearl of Price with great delight.
With great delight together going
On glassy golden streets they tread;
To a hundred thousand swiftly growing,
And all alike were they garmented:
The gladdest face who could be knowing?
The Lamb did proudly pass ahead,
His seven horns of clear red gold glowing,
His robes like pearls high valued.
On toward the throne their way they thread,
None crowded in that band so bright,
But mild as maidens when mass is said,
So fared they forth with great delight.
The great delight His coming gave,
It were too much for me to tell.
When He approached the Elders grave,
Prone there before His feet they fell;
Legions of summoned angels brave
Swayed censers of the sweetest smell;
With music like a mighty wave,
All sang in praise of that gay Jewel.
The hymn might strike through earth to hell
That with joy those hosts of heaven recite;
To praise the Lamb I liked full well,
Amid the group in great delight.
Delighted, I would fain devise
His loveliness, with mind intent:
First was He, blithest, best to prize,
Of all on whom man’s speech is spent;
So nobly white His draperies,
Such grace His simple glances lent;
But a wide, wet wound my gaze descries
Beneath His heart, through His skin rent;
Down His white side the blood was sent.
Alas! I thought, what scorn or spite
Could any human heart have bent
In such a deed to take delight?