Robert Nichols

(1893 - 1944 / England)

PÆan


upon seeing a portrait of Blake


Something moves in his dust,
Flame sleeps beneath the crust;
O whence had he those eyes
Lit with celestial surprise?
From what world blew that gust?
Are we near to Paradise?

Gather a chaplet of five stars
And the opalescent hue
Of the aureole brightness cast —
Red, hardly red, and blue, scarce blue, —
Round th' immaculate frosty moon,
Splintering light in glacial spars,
When November's loudening blast
Sweeps heaven's floor till burnished
More crystal than at August noon,
So we fit radiance may cast
Before his feet, around his head.

How visits he an earthly place,
Wanders among a mortal race?
How were his footsteps led
That still about his face
Lingers a ghostly trace
Of a secret influence shed
By a Hand the world denies,
In a land her most son flies,
As a gift upon him thrust
For an end he knoweth not,
Yet will shine because he must,
Shine and sing because he must
Reap a wrong he soweth not
Of contempt anger and distrust
For a world which boweth not
To the Flame which binds our dust.

Go net the moon, go snare the sun,
Set them upon his either hand!
Beneath his heels Leviathan
Roll your thick coils! His head be spanned
By rainbows tripled! Set a gem
At the Cross-scabbard of his sword
Whiter than lambwool or lilystem!
Place on his brow the diadem
Given the warrior of the Lord,
The crown-turrets of Jerusalem!

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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