You kings, you thrones that burn about the world,
Whom yet I king, lifted higher above you
Than you are lifted up above your folks:
This is my day. I have agreed with Heaven,
My fellow in the fear of the world, to have
This day unshar’d; and it is all mine,
All that the Gods from baseless fires and steams
Have harden’d into the place and kind of the world:
The great high quiet journey of the stars,
And all the golden hours which the sun
Utters aloft in heaven;—the whole is mine
To fill with ceremonies of my throne.
This one day, I am where Heaven and I
Commonly stand together; you shall not have
Shelter from me in a worshipt God to-day,
Kings; look yonder at many-power’d night,
Telling her beauty to the sea and taking
The prone adoring waters into her blue
Desire, setting them as herself on flame
With perils of joy, lending them her achieved
Raptures, her white experiences of stars.
So shall your souls lie under me these hours;
As they were waters shall they be beneath
My burning, set alight with me, and none
Escape from utterly understanding me
And why I am so kindled in my soul.
Who has been like to me? My name travels
A hundred seven and twenty languages,
My name a ship upon them, trading fear.
My unseen power weighs upon the heads
Of nations, like the blown abasement given
By sedges when they are wretched to the wind.
Ay, and the farthest goings of the air
Can reach no land my taxes do not labour.
The fear of me is the conscience of the world.
Ahasuerus is a region large
As there is light upon the earth; when dawn
With golden duties celebrates the sun,
It does but serve to fetch the lives I own
Out of shadow flinching into the light,—
Out of sleep’s mercy the sore lives that know
Only a penal sun, that are so chapt
In winds of my sent spirit: I care not, I.
For as my flesh out of my father’s joy
Came, fraught from him with hunger for like joy,—
As, when roused ages of desire within me
Play with my blood as storms play with the sea,
And all my senses tug one way like sails,
My flesh obeys, and into that perilous dream,
Woman, exults;—so, but much more, my soul,
That had its faculties from far beyond
The tingling loam of flesh, obeys a need:
Conquest, and nations to enjoy with war.
For ’tis a need that rode down out of God
Upon my journeying soul into this world’s
Affairs, like smouldering fire besiegers throw
Among a city’s roofs, which cannot choose
But take blaze from the whole town’s timber; so
My soul’s desire for flame hath charred the world.
Till now, as the night full of perfect fires,
I, full of conquests, am large over you.
And you must be like waters underneath me,
Full of my burning; there’s no more for me
Now, but to dwell alone in my still soul’s