Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 343. The Mystic
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
343. The Mystic
By David Atwood Wasson  (1823–1887)
i. Knowledge

THE SECRET of the World is lowly,
  Self-sung nigh my pleading ear;
It presses close, enchanting, holy,
  Murmuring,—what, I cannot hear:
A dream embosoming all my waking,        5
  Solace shaming all my fear.
In hours serenest and profoundest,
  List I’yond the breadth of time:
Over the sea of calm Thou soundest;
  Now I catch the tune, the rhyme,       10
And now shall know!—Alas! the silence
  Ripples, broken; dies the chime.
Partial, the universal Mother
  Tells her secret to the stars:
And they intone it each to other,       15
  Trooping in their silver cars.
Winging and witching comes the echo,
  But mine ear the meaning bars.
When the sunlight, aether flooding,
  Rains its richness down the sky,       20
The Fact on every beam is brooding,
  And on every leaf an eye
Implanteth, where the dauntless, dimless,
  Godlike vision I espy.
The psalmist pine-tree, sounding, sweeping       25
  One great chord forevermore;
Deep-chested Ocean’s chant, as, keeping
  Time upon the throbbing shore,
His billowy palm still falls and rises,—
  Both recount that wondrous lore.       30
The World is rich, it hath possession;
  Joy of wealth fills land and sea;
The fields in bloom, the stars in session,
  Birds and blades on bough and lea,
All know the truth, the joy, the wonder,       35
  Not revealed to man, to me.
Nature, be just in thy bestowing!
  Best to best shouldst thou confide.
Oh! why from him, whose bliss is knowing,
  Knowledge, cruel, dost thou hide?       40
Since, that withholden, naught is given;
  Given, naught withheld beside.
ii. Life
A goblet drained is all my knowing,—
  Cup whence I have quaffed the wine:
From out the Unknown comes the flowing       45
  And exhaustless juice divine,
That lends the blood its priceless crimson,
  And the eye its living shine.
Embrace me, Mystery of Being;
  Fill my arteries, flood my brain,       50
And through me pour thy heart, till seeing,
  Thought, are drowned, like dew in rain,
In powerful, pure participation:
  Separate life is separate pain.
Temple unseen of Truth immortal,       55
  Thought hath brought me to thy door;
Never passes he the portal,
  I am drawn the threshold o’er;
And lo! I am a leaf that quivers
  In God’s joy-wind evermore!       60
Now are the light-waves round me rolling,
  Now the love-tides through me run,
Body and soul anew ensouling:
  Seeing and being melt in one.
The ear is self-same with the music,       65
  Beam with vision, eye with sun.



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