Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
To the Unknown God
By Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)
O THOU whose image in the shrine
Of human spirits dwells divine;
Which from that precinct once conveyed,
To be to outer day displayed,
Doth vanish, part, and leave behind        5
Mere blank and void of empty mind,
Which willful fancy seeks in vain
With casual shapes to fill again!
O Thou that in our bosom’s shrine
Dost dwell, unknown because divine!        10
I thought to speak, I thought to say,
“The light is here,”—“Behold the way,”—
“The voice was thus,”—and “Thus the word,”—
And “Thus I saw,”—and “That I heard,”—
But from the lips that half assayed        15
The imperfect utterance fell unmade.
O Thou, in that mysterious shrine
Enthroned, as I must say, divine!
I will not frame one thought of what
Thou mayest either be or not.        20
I will not prate of “thus” and “so,”
And be profane with “yes” and “no”;
Enough that in our soul and heart
Thou, whatsoe’er Thou may’st be, art.
Unseen, secure in that high shrine        25
Acknowledged present and divine,
I will not ask some upper air,
Some future day to place Thee there;
Nor say, nor yet deny, such men
And women say Thee thus and then:        30
Thy name was such, and there or here
To him or her Thou didst appear.
Do only Thou in that dim shrine,
Unknown or known, remain, divine;
There, or if not, at least in eyes        35
That scan the fact that round them lies,
The hand to sway, the judgment guide,
In sight and sense Thyself divide:
Be Thou but there, in soul and heart,—
I will not ask to feel Thou art.        40

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