by: Edward Dowden (1843-1913)
- NDER the flaming wings of cherubim
- I moved toward that high altar. O, the hour!
- And the light waxed intenser, and the dim
- Low edges of the hills and the grey sea
- Were caught and capturd by the present Power,
- My sureties and my witnesses to be.
- Then the light drew me in. Ah, perfect pain!
- Ah, infinite moment of accomplishment!
- Thou terror of pure joy, with neither wane
- Nor waxing, but long silence and sharp air
- As womb-forsaking babes breathe. Hush! the event
- Let him who wrought Loves marvellous things declare.
- Shall I who feard not joy, fear grief at all?
- I on whose mouth Life laid his sudden lips
- Tremble at Deaths weak kiss, and not recall
- That sundering from the flesh, the flight from time,
- The judgements stern, the clear apocalypse,
- The lightnings, and the Presences sublime.
- How came I back to earth? I know not how,
- Nor what hands led me, nor what words were said.
- Now all things are made mine,--joy, sorrow; now
- I know my purpose deep, and can refrain;
- I walk among the living, not the dead;
- My sight is purged; I love and pity men.
POEMS BY EDWARD DOWDEN
"The Initiation" is reprinted
from The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. Ed. Nicholson
& Lee. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1917.