Home  »  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century  »  Henry Ellison (1811–1880)

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

By Mad Moments: Or First Verse Attempts by a Born Natural (1833). III. To Psyche (Ode II)

Henry Ellison (1811–1880)

WHY stand’st thou thus at gaze

In the faint taper’s rays,

With strainèd eyeballs fixed upon that bed?

Has he then flown away,

Lost, like a star in day,

Or like a pearl in depths unfathomèd?

Alas! thou hast done very ill,

Thus with thine eyes the vision of thy soul to kill

Thought’st thou that earthly light

Could then assist thy sight?

Or that the limits of reality

Could grasp things fairer than

Imagination’s span,

Who communes with the angels of the sky?

Thou graspest at the rainbow, and

Would’st make it as the zone with which thy waist is spann’d!

And what find’st thou in his stead?

Only the empty bed!

And what is that when no more hallowed by

Imagination? a mere sty

For Sensualism to wallow in,

To which thy fault is near akin;

Thou sought’st the earthly and therefore

The heavenly is gone, for that must ever soar!

For the bright world of

Pure and boundless love

What hast thou found? alas! a narrow room

Put out that light,

Restore thy soul its sight,

For better ’tis to dwell in outward gloom,

Than thus, by the vile body’s eye,

To rob the soul of its infinity!

Love, Love has wings, and he

Soon out of sight will flee,

Lost in far ether to the sensual eye,

But the soul’s vision true

Can track him, yea! up to

The Presence and the Throne of the Most High:

For thence he is, and tho’ he dwell below,

To the soul only he his genuine form will show!

Oh Psyche, Psyche, ’tis by our own thought

That Heaven’s gifts to fit use must be wrought,

But what the soul itself can scarcely grasp,

Thou in thine arms wouldst sensually clasp!