Poems and Prose Remains, Vol II

υμνος αυμνος

Arthur Hugh Clough

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
Mere blank and void of empty mind,
Which wilful fancy seeks in vain
With casual shapes to fill again!

O Thou that in our bosom’s shrine
Dost dwell, unknown because divine!
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 essayed
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.
I will not prate of ‘thus’ and ‘so,’
And be profane with ‘yes’ and ‘no,’
Enough that in our soul and heart
Thou, whatso’er Thou may’st be, art.

Unseen, secure in that high shrine
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 saw Thee thus and then:
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
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.

Poems and Prose Remains vol II - Contents

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