Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 242. Assumpta Mariam
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
242. Assumpta Mariam
By Francis Thompson  (1859–1907)
‘MORTALS, that behold a Woman
  Rising ’twixt the Moon and Sun;
Who am I the heavens assume? an
  All am I, and I am one.
‘Multitudinous ascend I,        5
  Dreadful as a battle arrayed,
For I bear you whither tend I;
  Ye are I: be undismayed!
I, the Ark that for the graven
  Tables of the Law was made;       10
Man’s own heart was one; one, Heaven;
  Both within my womb were laid.
    For there Anteros with Eros,
      Heaven with man, conjoinèd was,—
    Twin-stone of the Law, Ischyros,       15
      Agios Athanatos.
‘I, the flesh-girt Paradises
  Gardenered by the Adam new,
Daintied o’er with dear devices
  Which He loveth, for He grew.       20
I, the boundless strict savannah
  Which God’s leaping feet go through;
I, the heaven whence the Manna,
  Weary Israel, slid on you!
    He the Anteros and Eros,       25
      I the body, He the Cross;
    He upbeareth me, Ischyros,
      Agios Athanatos!
‘I am Daniel’s mystic Mountain,
  Whence the mighty stone was rolled;       30
I am the four Rivers’ Fountain,
  Watering Paradise of old;
Cloud down-raining the Just One am,
  Danae of the Shower of Gold;
I the Hostel of the Sun am;       35
  He the Lamb, and I the Fold.
    He the Anteros and Eros,
      I the body, He the Cross;
    He is fast to me, Ischyros,
      Agios Athanatos!       40
‘I, the presence-hall where Angels
  Do enwheel their placèd King—
Even my thoughts which, without change else,
  Cyclic burn and cyclic sing.
To the hollow of Heaven transplanted,       45
  I a breathing Eden spring,
Where with venom all outpanted
  Lies the slimed Curse shrivelling.
    For the brazen Serpent clear on
      That old fangèd knowledge shone;       50
    I to Wisdom rise, Ischyron,
      Agion Athanaton!
‘Then commanded and spake to me
  He who framed all things that be;
And my Maker entered through me,       55
  In my tent His rest took He.
Lo! He standeth, Spouse and Brother,
  I to Him, and He to me,
Who upraised me where my mother
  Fell, beneath the apple-tree.       60
Risen ’twixt Anteros and Eros,
  Blood and Water, Moon and Sun,
He upbears me, He Ischyros,
  I bear Him, the Athanaton!’
Where is laid the Lord arisen?       65
  In the light we walk in gloom;
Though the Sun has burst his prison,
  We know not his biding-room.
Tell us where the Lord sojourneth,
  For we find an empty tomb.       70
‘Whence He sprung, there He returneth,
  Mystic Sun,—the Virgin’s Womb.’
    Hidden Sun, His beams so near us,
      Cloud enpillared as He was
    From of old, there He, Ischyros,       75
      Waits our search, Athanatos.
‘Who will give Him me for brother,
  Counted of my family,
Sucking the sweet breasts of my Mother?—
  I His flesh, and mine is He;       80
To my Bread myself the bread is,
  And my Wine doth drink me: see,
His left hand beneath my head is.
  His right hand embraceth me!’
    Sweetest Anteros and Eros,’       85
      Lo, her arms He learns across;
    Dead that we die not, stooped to rear us,
      Thanatos Athanatos.
Who is She, in candid vesture,
  Rushing up from out the brine?       90
Treading with resilient gesture
  Air, and with that Cup divine?
She in us and we in her are,
  Beating Godward; all that pine,
Lo, a wonder and a terror—       95
  The Sun hath blushed the Sea to Wine!
    He the Anteros and Eros,
      She the Bride and Spirit; for
    Now the days of promise near us,
      And the Sea shall be no more.      100
Open wide thy gates, O Virgin,
  That the King may enter thee!
At all gates the clangours gurge in,
  God’s paludament lightens, see!
Camp of Angels! Well we even      105
  Of this thing may doubtful be,—
If thou art assumed to Heaven,
  Or is Heaven assumed to thee!
    Consummatum. Christ the promised.
      Thy maiden realm, is won, O Strong!      110
    Since to such sweet Kingdom comest,
      Remember me, poor Thief of Song!
Cadent fails the stars along:—
  Mortals, that behold a Woman
    Rising ’twixt the Moon and Sun;      115
  Who am I the heavens assume? an
    All am I, and I am one.



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