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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Wed. 04/07/04 07:27:49 AM

George Barlow: "The Immortal and the Mortal"

Wednesday in Holy Week

The Immortal and the Mortal

Oh where the immortal and the mortal meet
In union than of wind and wave more sweet,
            Meet me, O God—
            Where Thou hast trod
I follow, along the blood-print of Thy feet.

Oh, though the austere ensanguined road be hard
And all the blue skies shine through casemates barred,
            I follow Thee—
            Show Thou to me
Thy face, the speechless face divinely marred.

Lo! who will love and follow to the end,
Shall he not also to hell's depths descend?
            Shall he not find
            The whole world blind,
Searching among the lone stars for a friend?

Lo! who will follow love throughout the way,
From crimson morning flush till twilight grey?
            Who fears not chains,
            Anguish and pains,
If love wait at the ending of the day?

If at the ending of the day life's bride
Be near our hearts in vision glorified:
            If at the end
            God's hand extend
That far triumphant boon for which we sighed.

Oh, where the immortal to our mortal flows,
Flushing our grey clay heart to its own rose,
            Spirit supreme
            Upon me gleam;
Make me Thine own; I reckon not the throes.

I would pour out my heart in one long sigh
Of speechless yearning towards Thine home on high:
            I would be pure,
            Suffer, endure,
Pervade with ceaseless wings the unfathomed sky.

Oh, at the point where God and man are one,
Meet me, Thou God; flame on me like the sun;
            I would be part
            Of Thine own heart,
That by my hands Thy love-deeds may be done:

That by my hands Thy love-truths may be shown
And far lands know me for Thy very own;
            That I may bring
            The dead world spring:—
The flowers awake, Lord, at Thy word alone.

Oh, to the point where man and God unite,
Raise me, Thou God; transfuse me with Thy light;
            Where I would go
            Thou, God, dost know;
For Thy sake I will face the starless night.

The night is barren, black, devoid of bloom,
Scentless and waste, a wide appalling tomb;
            Dark foes surround
            The soul discrowned
And strange shapes lower and threaten through the gloom.

But where Thou art with me Thy mortal, one,
God, mine immortal, my death-conquering sun,
            Meet me and show
            What path to go
Till the last work of deathless love be done.

George Barlow (1847–1913)

The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse (1917), ed. D. H. S. Nicholson and A. H. E. Lee, pp. 371ff.

See also John Donne: Holy Sonnets XV.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 04/07/04 07:27:49 AM
Categorized as Literary & Religious.


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