Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 236. The Beloved
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
236. The Beloved
By May Probyn
  
WHEN the storm was in the sky,
  And the west was black with showers,
My Beloved came by
  With His Hands full of flowers—
  Red burning flowers,        5
Like flame that pulsed and throbbed—
  And beyond in the rain-smitten bowers
The turtle-dove sobbed.
 
(Sweet in the rough weather
  The voice of the turtle-dove—       10
‘Beautiful altogether
  Is my Love.
  His Hands are open spread for love
And full of jacinth stones—
  As the apple-tree among trees of the grove       15
Is He among the sons.’
 
The voice of the turtle-dove
  Sweet in the wild weather—
‘Until the daybreak dwells my Love
  Among the hills of Bether.       20
  Among the lilied lawns of Bether,
As a young hart untired—
  Chosen out of thousands,—altogether
To be desired.’)
 
When the night was in the sky,       25
  And heavily went the hours,
My Beloved drew nigh
  With His Hands full of flowers—
  Burning red flowers
Like cups of scented wine—       30
  And He said, ‘They are all ours,
Thine and Mine.
 
‘I gathered them from the bitter Tree—
  Why dost thou start?
I gathered the Five of them for thee,       35
  Child of My Heart.
  These are they that have wrung my Heart,
And with fiercest pangs have moved Me—
  I gathered them—why dost thou shrink apart?
In the house of them that loved Me.’       40
 
(Sweet through the rain-swept blast
  The moan of the turtle-dove—
‘You, that see Him go past,
  Tell Him I languish with love.
  Thou hast wounded my heart, O my Love!       45
With but one look of Thine eyes,
  While yet the boughs are naked above
And winter is in the skies.’)
 
‘Honey-laden flowers
  For the children nursed on the knee,       50
Who sow not bramble among their bowers—
  But what’ He said ‘for thee?
  Not joys of June for thee,
Not lily, no, nor rose—
  For thee the blossom of the bitter Tree,       55
More sweet than ought that blows.’
 
(The voice of the turtle-dove—
  ‘How shall my heart be fed
With pleasant apples of love,
  When the winter time has fled,       60
  The rain and the winter fled,
How all His gifts shall grace me,
  When His Left Hand is under my head,
And His Right Hand doth embrace me.’)

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