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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By A Book of Sonnets. I. The Unseen Face

George MacDonald (1824–1905)

“I DO beseech Thee, God, show me Thy face

“Come up to Me in Sinai on the morn!

Thou shalt behold as much as may be borne.”

And on a rock stood Moses, lone in space.

From Sinai’s top, the vaporous, thunderous place,

God passed in cloud, an earthy garment worn

To hide, and thus reveal. In love, not scorn,

He put him in a clift of the rock’s base,

Covered him with his hand, his eyes to screen—

Passed—lifted it: his back alone appears!

Ah, Moses, had he turned, and hadst thou seen

The pale face crowned with thorns, baptized with tears,

The eyes of the true man, by men belied,

Thou hadst beheld God’s face, and straightway died.