Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 244. Desiderium Indesideratum
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
244. Desiderium Indesideratum
By Francis Thompson  (1859–1907)
O GAIN that lurk’st ungainèd in all gain!
O love we just fall short of in all love!
O height that in all heights art still above!
O beauty that dost leave all beauty pain!
Thou unpossessed that mak’st possession vain,        5
See these strained arms which fright the simple air,
And say what ultimate fairness holds thee, Fair!
They girdle Heaven, and girdle Heaven in vain;
They shut, and lo! but shut in their unrest.
Thereat a voice in me that voiceless was:—       10
‘Whom seekest thou through the unmarged arcane,
And not discern’st to thine own bosom prest?’
I looked. My claspèd arms athwart my breast
Framed the august embraces of the Cross.



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