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Poem by Francis Thompson
The After Woman
Daughter of the ancient Eve, We know the gifts ye gave--and give. Who knows the gifts which YOU shall give, Daughter of the newer Eve? You, if my soul be augur, you Shall--O what shall you not, Sweet, do? The celestial traitress play, And all mankind to bliss betray; With sacrosanct cajoleries And starry treachery of your eyes, Tempt us back to Paradise! Make heavenly trespass;--ay, press in Where faint the fledge-foot seraphin, Blest Fool! Be ensign of our wars, And shame us all to warriors! Unbanner your bright locks,--advance Girl, their gilded puissance, I' the mystic vaward, and draw on After the lovely gonfalon Us to out-folly the excess Of your sweet foolhardiness; To adventure like intense Assault against Omnipotence! Give me song, as She is, new, Earth should turn in time thereto! New, and new, and thrice so new, All old sweets, New Sweet, meant you! Fair, I had a dream of thee, When my young heart beat prophecy, And in apparition elate Thy little breasts knew wax-ed great, Sister of the Canticle, And thee for God grown marriageable. How my desire desired your day, That, wheeled in rumour on its way, Shook me thus with presentience! Then Eden's lopped tree shall shoot again: For who Christ's eyes shall miss, with those Eyes for evident nuncios? Or who be tardy to His call In your accents augural? Who shall not feel the Heavens hid Impend, at tremble of your lid, And divine advent shine avowed Under that dim and lucid cloud; Yea, 'fore the silver apocalypse Fail, at the unsealing of your lips? When to love YOU is (O Christ's Spouse!) To love the beauty of His house; Then come the Isaian days; the old Shall dream; and our young men behold Vision--yea, the vision of Thabor mount, Which none to other shall recount, Because in all men's hearts shall be The seeing and the prophecy. For ended is the Mystery Play, When Christ is life, and you the way; When Egypt's spoils are Israel's right, And Day fulfils the married arms of Night. But here my lips are still. Until You and the hour shall be revealed, This song is sung and sung not, and its words are sealed.
Francis Thompson's other poems:
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