Blue-purple smoke creeps like a stain of wine
Along the paved blue sea: yea, all this kindness
Lies amid salt immeasurable flowing,
The power of the sea, passion of love.
I, Sappho, have made love the mastery
Most sacred over man; but I have made it
A safety of things gloriously known,
To house his spirit from the darkness blowing
Out of the vast unknown: from me he hath
The wilful mind to make his fortune fair.
Yea, here I stand for the whole earth to see
How life, breathing its fortune like sweet air,
Mixing it with the kindled heart of man,
May utter it proud against the double truth
Of darkness fronting him and following him,
In a prevailing, burning, marvellous lie!
And it is love kindles the burning of it, The quivering flame of spoken-forth desire, Which man hath made his place within the world,— Love, learnt of Sappho! and not only bright With gladness: I have devised an endless pain, The fearful spiritual pain of love, to hold In a firm fire, unalterably bright, The shining forth of Spirit’s imagination Declared against the investing dark, a light Of pain and joy, equal for man and woman.
The Third Vision: Theresa. Come,
golden bridegroom, break this mortal night, Five times
chained with darkness of my senses. At last now
visit my desire, and turn Thy feet, and the flaming
path of thy feet, Unto these walls lockt round me
like a death. Death I would have them till thou
comest; yea, The earthly stone whereof man’s
fortune here Is made, strongly into deliberate death
I have built about my soul, to fend its life From
gazes of the world. I am too proud
To endure the world’s desire of my beauty;
I know myself too marvellous in love
To be the joy of aught that thou hast made:
I am to be bride of thee, of the world’s maker.
O God, the heart I have from thee, the heart
Uttering itself in an endless word of love,
Is sealed up in the stone of worldly night:
Set hitherward the flaming way of thy feet,
Break my night, and enter in unto me.
Come, wed my spirit; and like as the sea,
Into the shining spousal ecstasy
Of sun and wind, riseth in cloudy gleam,
So let the knowing of my flesh be clouds
Of fire, mounting up the height of my spirit,
Fire clouding with flame the marriage hour
Wherein my spirit keeps thy dreadful light
Away from Heaven in a bridal kiss,—
Fire of bodily sense in spiritual glee
Held, as fire of water in sunlit air.
Ah God, beautiful God, my soul is wild
With love of thee. Hitherward turn thy feet, Turn their golden journeying towards this night,— This night of cavernous earth; and now let shine These walls of stone, against thy nearing love, Like pure glass smitten by the power of the sun; And let them be, in thy descending love, Like glass in a furnace, falling molten down, Back from thy burning feet streaming and flowing, Leaving me naked to thy bright desire.— Enjoy me, God, enjoy thy bride to-night.