Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
The Hidden Love
By Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)
O LET me love my love unto myself alone,
And know my knowledge to the world unknown;
No witness to my vision call,
Beholding, unbeheld of all;
And worship Thee, with Thee withdrawn apart,        5
Whoe’er, Whate’er Thou art,
Within the closest veil of mine most inmost heart.
What is it then to me
If others are inquisitive to see?
Why should I quit my place to go and ask        10
If other men are working at their task?
Leave my own buried roots to go
And see that brother plants shall grow;
And turn away from Thee, O Thou most Holy Light,
To look if other orbs their orbits keep aright,        15
Around their proper sun,
Deserting Thee, and being undone.
O let me love my love unto myself alone,
And know my knowledge to the world unknown;
And worship Thee, O hid One, O much sought,        20
As but man can or ought,
Within the abstracted’st shrine of my least breathed-on thought.
Better it were, thou sayest, to consent;
Feast while we may, and live ere life be spent;
Close up clear eyes, and call the unstable sure,        25
The unlovely lovely, and the filthy pure;
In self-belyings, self-deceivings roll,
And lose in Action, Passion, Talk, the soul.
Nay, better far to mark off thus much air,
And call it Heaven: place bliss and glory there:        30
Fix perfect homes in the unsubstantial sky,
And say, what is net, will be by-and-by.

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