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

By Poems. VI. Love’s Freemasonry

Henry Septimus Sutton (1825–1901)

  • Written, as I think,
  • In some secret ink;
  • Yet the meaning, found,
  • Will prove good and sound.

  • “AH, if to know the sign she fail,”

    He said, “Woe, Woe!” and he grew pale.

    The sign was made; but not a trace

    Of knowing was upon her face.

    As if death’s mouth, the grave, had spoke,

    His blood its law of flowing broke,

    And he felt twist in every vein,

    Snake-like, a nerve of swollen pain.

    There wrestled he, standing apart

    To force it back unto the heart,

    If haply to a running flood

    It might dissolve, of living blood.

    O life in death and death in life!

    O torturing, damn’d, yet conquering strife

    For yet, years afterwards, made whole,

    He held the sceptre of his soul.

    And lo! with faces all elate

    With such a joy, so deep, so great,

    That its most dear, most sweet, and chief

    Resemblance was to glorious grief,

    They stood in voiceless transport round,

    Naught owing to articulate sound;

    But a soft music forth doth press

    And swells, and falls, from all their dress;

    For, as their nature stands above

    The power of tongue to tell their love,

    God makes from forth their garments’ hem

    Music go out and speak for them.

    These looked, and loved him with their eyes

    Filled with pass-words from Paradise;

    “And evermore,” he sang, “the sign

    Given, swift-answered, proves them mine!”

    “Ah, Lord,” he said, “I did but seek

    To bless with love a maiden meek;

    A maiden given a royal, free,

    Most god-like gift,—but not to me.

    “I and my staff, wherein amassed

    Was all my wealth, this Jordan passed;

    ’Tis Thou who mak’st me here to stand

    Augmented to a twofold band.”