Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 175. From ‘The City of Dream’
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
175. From ‘The City of Dream’
By Robert Buchanan  (1841–1901)
The Man

YONDER the veil’d Musician sits, His feet
Upon the pedals of dark formless suns,
His fingers on the radiant spheric keys,
His face, that it is death to look upon.
Misted with incense rising nebulous        5
Out of abysmal chaos and cohering
Into the golden flames of Life and Being!
And underneath his touch Music itself
Grows living, heard as far as thought can creep
Or dream can soar; or that Creation stirs,       10
And drinks the sound, and sings!—So far away
He sits, the Mystery, wrapt for ever round
With brightness and with awe and melody;
Yet even here, on these low-lying shores,
Lower than is the footstool of His throne,       15
We hear Him and adore Him, nay, can feel
His breath as vapour round our mouths, inhaling
That soul within the soul whereby we live
From that divine for-ever-beating Heart
Which thrills the universe with Light and Love.’       20
The Pilgrim

So far away He dwells, my soul indeed
Scarcely discerns Him, and in sooth I seek
A gentler presence and a nearer Friend.
The Man

So far? O blind, He broods beside thee now
Here in this silence, with His eyes on thine!       25
O deaf, His voice is whispering in thine ears
Soft as the breathing of the slumberous seas!
The Pilgrim

I see not and I hear not; but I see
Thine eyes burn dimly, like a corpse-light seen
Flickering amidst the tempest; and I hear       30
Only the elemental grief and pain
Out of whose shadow I would creep for ever.
The Man

Thou canst not, brother; for these, too, are God!
The Pilgrim

How? Is my God, then, as a homeless ghost
Blown this way, that way, with the elements?       35
The Man

He is without thee, and within thee too;
Thy living breath, and that which drinks thy breath:
Thy being, and the bliss beyond thy being.
The Pilgrim

So near, so far? He shapes the farthest sun
New-glimmering on the farthest fringe of space,       40
Yet stoops and with a leaf-light finger-touch
Reaches my heart and makes it come and go!
The Man

Yea; and He is thy heart within thy heart,
And thou a portion of His Heart Divine!



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