Edmond Gore Alexander Holmes: "The God Within"
Tuesday in Holy Week
The God Within
Life of my life! soul of my inmost soul!
Pure central point of everlasting light!
Creative splendour! Fountain-head and goal
Of all the rays that make the darkness bright
And pierce the gloom of nothing more and more
And win new realms from the abyss of night!
O God, I veil my eyes and kneel before
Thy shrine of love and tremble and adore.
The unfathomable past is but the dawn
Of thee triumphant rising from the tomb;
And could we deem thy lamp of light withdrawn,
Back in an instant into primal gloom
All things that are, all things that time has wrought,
All that shall ever yet unseal the womb
Of elemental Chaos, swift as thought
Would melt away and leave a world of nought.
We gaze in wonder on the starry face
Of midnight skies, and worship and aspire,
Yet all the kingdoms of abysmal space
Are less than thy one point of inmost fire:
We dare not think of time's unending way,
Yet present, past, and future would expire,
And all eternity would pass away
In thy one moment of intensest day.
Of old our fathers heard thee when the roll
Of midnight thunder crashed across the sky:
I hear thee in the silence of the soul
Its very stillness is the majesty
Of thy mysterious voice, that moves me more
Than wrath of tempest as it rushes by,
Or booming thunder, or the surging roar
Of seas that storm a never-trodden shore.
And they beheld thee when the lightning shone,
And tore the leaden slumber of the storm
With vivid flame that was and then was gone,
Whose blaze made blind, whose very breath was warm:
But I, if I would see thee, pray for grace
To veil my eyes to every outward form,
And in the darkness for a moment's space
I see the splendour of thy cloudless face.
In thought I climb to Being's utmost brink
And pass beyond the last imagined star,
And tremble and grow dizzy while I think
But thou art yet more infinitely far,
O God, from me who breathe the air of sin,
And I am doomed to traverse worlds that are
More fathomless to fancy ere I win
The central altar of the soul within.
How shall I worship thee? With speechless awe
Of guilt that shrinks when innocence is near
And veils its face: with faith, that ever saw
Most when its eyes were clouded with a tear:
With hope, the breath of spirits that aspire:
Lastly, with lovethe grave of every fear,
The fount of faith, the triumph of desire,
The burning brightness of thine own white fire....
O God that dwellest in transcendent light
Beyond our dreams, who grope in darkness here,
Beyond imagination's utmost flight,
I bless thee most that sometimes when a tear
Of tender yearning rises unrepressed,
Lo! for an instant thou art strangely near
Nearer to my own heart than I who rest
In speechless adoration on thy breast.
Edmond Gore Alexander Holmes (1850–1906)
The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse (1917), ed. D. H. S. Nicholson and A. H. E. Lee, pp. 387ff.
See also John Donne: Holy Sonnets XVI.
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Tue. 04/06/04 07:15:51 AM
Categorized as Literary & Religious.