Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 141. The Human Temple
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
141. The Human Temple
By Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik  (1826–1887)
‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?’

The Temple in Darkness

DARKNESS broods upon the temple,
Glooms along the lonely aisles,
Fills up all the orient window,
  Whence, like little children’s wiles,
Shadows—purple, azure, golden—        5
  Broke upon the floor in smiles.
From the great heart of the organ
  Bursts no voice of chant or psalm;
All the air, by music-pulses
  Stirred no more, is deathly calm;       10
And no precious incense rising,
  Falls, like good men’s prayer, in balm.
Not a sound of living footstep
  Echoes on the marble floor;
Not a sigh of stranger passing       15
  Pierces through the closèd door;
Quenched the light upon the altar:
  Where the priest stood, none stands more.
Lord, why hast Thou left Thy temple
  Scorned of man, disowned by Thee!       20
Rather let Thy right hand crush it,
  None its desolation see!
List—‘He who the temple builded
  Doth His will there. Let it be!’
A Light in the Temple

Lo, a light within the temple!
  Whence it cometh no man knows;
Barred the doors: the night-black windows
  Stand apart in solemn rows,
All without seems gloom eternal,
  Yet the glimmer comes and goes—       30
As if silent-footed angels
  Through the dim aisles wandered fair,
Only traced amid the darkness,
  By the glory in their hair,
Till at the forsaken altar       35
  They all met, and praised God there.
Now the light grows—fuller, clearer;
  Hark, the organ ’gins to sound.
Faint, like broken spirit crying
  Unto Heaven from the ground;       40
While the chorus of the angels
  Mingles everywhere around.
See, the altar shines all radiant,
  Though no mortal priest there stands,
And no earthly congregation       45
  Worships with uplifted hands:
Yet they gather, slow and saintly,
  In innumerable bands.
And the chant celestial rises
  Where the human prayers have ceased:       50
No tear-sacrifice is offered,
  For all anguish is appeased,
Through its night of desolation,
  To His temple comes the Priest.



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