Jealousy

The Roman Catholic Church has never forgiven us for converting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from his agnosticism; when men like Mr Dennis Bradley can no longer be content with the old faith, a spirit of jealousy is naturally roused.

— A Spiritualist Paper

She sat upon her Seven Hills;
She rent her scarlet robes about her,
Nor yet in her two thousand years
Had ever grieved that men should doubt her;
But what new horror shakes the mind,
Making her moan and mutter madly?
Lo, Rome’s high heart is broke at last:
Her foes have borrowed Dennis Bradley.

If she must lean on lesser props
Of earthly fame or ancient art,
Make shift with Raphael and Racine,
Put up with Dante or Descartes,
Not wholly can she mask her grief,
But touch the wound and murmur sadly,
“These lesser things are theirs to love
Who lose the love of Mr. Bradley.”

She saw great Origen depart
And Photius rend the world asunder,
Her cry to all the East rolled back
In Islam its ironic thunder,
She lost Jerusalem and the North
Accepting these arrangements gladly
Until it came to be a case
Of Conan Doyle and Dennis Bradley.

O fond and foolish hopes that still
In broken hearts unbroken burn,
What if, grown weary of new ways,
The precious wanderer should return
The Trumpet whose uncertain sound
Has just been cracking rather badly
May yet within her courts remain
His Trumpet — blown by Dennis Bradley.

His and her Trumpet blown before
The battle where the good cause wins
Louder than all the Irish harps
Or the Italian violins
When, armed and mounted like St. Joan
She meets the mad world riding madly
Under the Oriflamme of old
Crying “Montjoie St. Dennis Bradley!”

But in this hour she sorrows still,
Though all anew the generations
Rise up and call her blessed, claim
Her name upon the new-born nations
But still she mourns the only thing
She ever really wanted badly:
The sympathy of Conan Doyle
The patronage of Dennis Bradley.

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Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 9:33 am  Comments (1)  

A Hymn

O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation
Of honor, and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
The prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to thee.

— (1907).

Published in: on November 23, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Apocalypse

The first of the seals was opened;
The gold of the dawn unsealed.
The last of the seals was opened,
The red day tottered and reeled.
The clouds that are bridled like dragons,
The stars that are shaken like swords,
Daily they come and nightly:
Are they not great and the Lord’s?

But the people behold them always
They pass them and cry without fear
“If the sun be dark we will listen
If the moon be blood we will hear”
But the pomp of the suns goes onward
And the race of the moons goes by:
And we stand in the heart of a marvel,
You and the earth and I.

The hands of the Lord still fashion,
With fire, with blood and with earth
And measureless wheels go even
In the twilight house of birth
And the life comes fair as sunrise,
And the lives roll in like a sea.
A babe, O Lord, from thy palace:
Is not each a prophet of thee?

But the people receive them always
They pass them and cry without fear
“If one come in the cloud, we will listen
If one rise from the dead we will hear”
And, like star on star, they are rising
Bright clouds in the night drift by
And we dwell in the thick of a gospel
Thou and the world and I.

— (c.1890-92).

Published in: on November 16, 2011 at 6:57 am  Comments (2)  

Fragment from Dante

Then Bernard smiled at me, that I should gaze
But I had gazed already; caught the view,
Faced the unfathomable ray of rays
Which to itself and by itself is true.

Then was my vision mightier than man’s speech;
Speech snapt before it like a flying spell;
And memory and all that time can teach
Before that splendid outrage failed and fell.

As when one dreameth and remembereth not
Waking, what were his pleasures or his pains,
With every feature of the dream forgot,
The printed passion of the dream remains: —

Even such am I; within whose thoughts resides
No picture of that sight nor any part,
Nor any memory: in whom abides
Only a happiness within the heart,

A secret happiness that soaks the heart
As hills are soaked by slow unsealing snow,
Or secret as that wind without a chart
Whereon did the wild leaves of Sibyl go.

O light uplifted from all mortal knowing,
Send back a little of that glimpse of thee,
That of its glory I may kindle glowing
One tiny spark for all men yet to be.

— (1905-15).

Published in: on November 9, 2011 at 7:11 am  Comments (1)  

“In praise of play”

It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play; it is really possible to say the highest things in praise of it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. To be at last in such secure innocence that one can juggle with the universe and the stars, to be so good that one can treat everything as a joke — that may be, perhaps, the real end and final holiday of souls. When we are really holy we may regard the Universe as a lark.

All Things Considered (1908).

Published in: on November 2, 2011 at 6:18 am  Leave a Comment