Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 173. The Tree of Life
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
173. The Tree of Life
By Robert Buchanan  (1841–1901)
  ‘I have planted the Seed of a Tree,
It shall be strangely fed
With white dew and with red,
  And the Gardeners shall be three—        5
  Regret, Hope, Memory!’
The Master smiled:
  For the Seed that He had set
Broke presently thro’ the mould,
With a glimmer of green and gold,       10
  And the Angels’ eyes were wet—
  Hope, Memory, Regret.
The Master cried:
  ‘It liveth—breatheth—see!
Its soft lips open wide—       15
It looks from side to side—
  How strange they gleam on me,
  The little dim eyes of the Tree!’
The Master said:
  ‘After a million years,       20
The Seed I set and fed
To itself hath gatherèd
  All the world’s smiles and tears—
  How mighty it appears!’
The Master said:       25
  ‘At last, at last, I see
A Blossom, a Blossom o’ red
From the heart of the Tree is shed.
  ’Tis fairer certainly
  Than the Tree, or the leaves of the Tree.’       30
The Master cried:
  ‘O Angels, that guard the Tree,
A Blossom, a Blossom divine
Grows on this greenwood of mine:
  What may this Blossom be?       35
  Name this Blossom to me!’
The Master smiled;
  For the Angels answered thus:
‘Our tears have nourish’d the same,
We have given it a name       40
  That seemeth fit to us—
  We have called it Spiritus.’
The Master said:
  ‘This Flower no Seed shall bear;
But hither on a day       45
My beautiful Son shall stray,
  And shall snatch it unaware,
  And wreath it in his hair.’
The Master smiled:
  ‘The Tree shall never bear—       50
Seedless shall perish the Tree,
But the Flower my Son’s shall be;
  He will pluck the Flower and wear,
  Till it withers in his hair!’



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