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Sponged and made blank of crimeful record all
My mortal archives.
O my sons, my sons,
I, Simeon of the pillar, by surname
Stylites, among men; I, Simeon,
The watcher on the column till the end ;
I, Simeon, whose brain the sunshine bakes ; .
I, whose bald brows in silent hours become
Unnaturally hoar with rime, do now
From my high nest of penance here proclaim
That Pontius and Iscariot by my side
Show'd like fair seraphs. On the coals I láy,
A vessel full of sin : all hell beneath
Made me boil over. Devils pluck'd my sleeve ;
Abaddon and Asmodeus caught at me.
I smote them with the cross; they swarm’d again.
In bed like monstrous apes they crush'd my chest :
They flapp'd my light out as I read : I saw
Their faces grow between me and my book ;
With colt-like whinny and with hoggish whine
They burst my prayer. Yet this way was left,
And by this way I 'scaped them. Mortify
Your flesh, like me, with scourges and with thorns ;
Smite, shrink not, spare not. If it may be, fast
Whole Lents, and pray. I hardly, with slow steps,
With slow, faint steps, and much exceeding pain,
Have scrambled past those pits of fire, that still
Sing in mine ears. But yield not me the praise :
God only thro' his bounty hath thought fit,
Among the powers and princes of this world,
To make me an example to mankind,
Which few can reach to. Yet I do not say
But that a time may come-yea, even now,
Now, now, his footsteps smite the threshold stairs
Of life-I say, that time is at the doors
When you may worship me without reproach;
For I will leave my relics in your land,
And you may carve a shrine about my dust,
And burn a fragrant lamp before my bones,
When I am gather'd to the glorious saints.
While I spake then, a sting of shrewdest pain
Ran shrivelling thro' me, and a cloudlike change,
In passing, with a grosser film made thick
These heavy, horny eyes. The end! the end !
Surely the end! What's here ? a shape, a shade,
A flash of light. Is that the angel there
That holds a crown ? Come, blessed brother, come.
I know thy glittering face. I waited long;
My brows are ready. What ! deny it now?
Nay, draw, draw, draw nigh. So I clutch it. Christ!
'Tis gone : 'tis here again ; the crown! the crown!
So now 'tis fitted on and grows to me,
And from it melt the dews of Paradise,
Sweet ! sweet ! spikenard, and balm, and frankincense.
Ah ! let me not be foold, sweet saints : I trust
That I am whole, and clean, and meet for Heaven.
Speak, if there be a priest, a man of God, Among you there, and let him presently Approach, and lean a ladder on the shaft, And climbing up into my airy home, Deliver me the blessed sacrament; For by the warning of the Holy Ghost, I prophesy that I shall die to-night, A quarter before twelve.
But thou, O Lord, Aid all this foolish people ; let them take Example, pattern : lead them to thy light.
ONCE more the gate behind me falls ;
Once more before my face
I see the moulder'd Abbey-walls,
That stand within the chace.
Beyond the lodge the city lies,
Beneath its drift of smoke;
And ah! with what delighted eyes
I turn to youder oak.
For when my passion first began,
Ere that, which in me burn'd, The love, that makes me thrice a man,
Could hope itself return'd;
To yonder oak within the field
I spoke without restraint, And with a larger faith appeala
Than Papist unto Saint.
For oft I talk'd with him apart;
And told him of my choice, Until he plagiarised a heart,
And answer'd with a voice.
Tho' what he whisper'd, under Heaven
None else could understand ; I found him garrulously given,
A babbler in the land.
But since I heard him make reply
Is many a weary hour; 'Twere well to question him, and try
If yet he keeps the power:
Hail, hidden to the knees in fern,
Broad Oak of Sumner-chace, Whose topmost branches can discern
The roofs of Sumner-place !
Say thou, whereon I carved her name,
If ever maid or spouse, As fair as my Olivia, came
To rest beneath thy boughs.
“O Walter, I have shelter'd here
Whatever maiden grace The good old Summers, year by year
Made ripe in Sumrer-chace :