Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 276. The Ecstasy
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
276. The Ecstasy
By Arthur Symons  (b. 1865)
  
WHAT is this reverence in extreme delight
That waits upon my kisses as they storm,
Vehemently, this height
Of steep and inaccessible delight;
And seems with newer ecstasy to warm        5
Their slackening ardour, and invite,
From nearer heaven, the swarm
Of hiving stars with mortal sweetness down?
Never before
Have I endured an exaltation       10
So exquisite in anguish, and so sore
In promise and possession of full peace.
Cease not, O nevermore
Cease,
To lift my joy, as upon windy wings,       15
Into that infinite ascension, where,
In baths of glittering air,
It finds a heaven and like an angel sings.
Heaven waits above,
There where the clouds a fastnesses of love       20
Lift earth into the skies;
And I have seen the glim of the gates,
And twice or thrice
Climbed half the difficult way,
Only to say       25
Heaven waits,
Only to fall away from paradise.
But now, O what is this
Mysterious and uncapturable, bliss
That I have known, yet seems to be       30
Simple as breath, and easy as a smile,
And older than the earth?
Now but a little while
This ultimate ecstasy
Has parted from its birth,       35
Now but a little while been wholly mine,
Yet am I utterly possessed
By the delicious tyrant and divine
Child, this importunate gues.

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