“To Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows” (Arthur Symons)
Lady of the seven sorrows which are love,
What sacrificial way
First led your feet to, those remoter heights
Which, for the uttermost delights
Of martyrs and Love’s saints, are set above
The Stations of the passion of our day?
Seven sorrows unto you has been desire
Since first your cheek grew pale.
And your astonished breath would fail,
And your eyes deepened into smouldering fire;
Seven sorrows from a child.
Nor has the soul which in you pants and rises
At any time been reconciled
With love and love’s intolerable disguises.
In the child’s morning-hour
You woke, and knew not the immortal power
Which in your ignorant veins was as the breeze
Troubling the waters of a little lake
And crying in the nests among the trees.
Fear bid you, trembling, wake,
And listen to the voice which seemed to shake
Unto the empty audience of the air.
The child, grown older, heard that voice again,
Nor heard that voice in vain.
You smiled, with a new meaning in your eyes,
As of some new, delightful care
Which made you suddenly mote wise,
Older, and to yourself more fair.
Then silence came about your lips, and laid
That tremulous shadow there,
Whereby the sorrows mark you for their own.
You woke and were afraid to be alone,
And full of some Strange joy to be afraid.First love, the hour it came,
You seemed to have remembered; and you knew
What a smoke-thwarted flame
Love’s torch is, and the jewel of love’s faith
How flawed, and by how many a name
The immortal comes to mortals, and how deal h
Is the first breath that love, made mortal, drew.
Therefore, not without tears.
And penitence, and a reluctant rapture,
All love’s and not your lover’s capture,
Not without sure, foreseeing fears
Of the unavoidable dedication of your years,
You entered on the way,
The way that was to be.Mortal, and pitiful, yet immortally
Predestinate to that illustrious grief
Whose extreme anguish is its own relief,
Lady of the seven sorrows, who shall say
The ardours of that way?
Men have looked up and seen you pass, and bowed
Into the dust to kiss your weary feet;
And you have passed, and they have cursed aloud
With dusty mouths to find the dust not sweet.
You have passed by; your eyes
Unalterably open in a dream,
Seeing alone the gleam
Of a far, mortal, azure paradise
Which your ecstatic feat is to attain,
Sometimes you linger, when men cry to you,
Linger as in a dream,
Linger in vain,
Having but shared, as they would have you do,
Some ecstasy of pain.
Therefore you shall be neither blessed nor cursed,
But pardoned, for you know not what you do;
And of all punishments the worst
Of punishments for you is to be you.
Go, neither blessed nor cursed:
We, all we too who suffer of you, throng
To make a royal passage for your feet,
When, in a dream, ere long,
They shall go sorrowfully up the Street.
You will pass by and not remember us,
We shall be Grange as any last year’s mirth;
It is not thus, so lightly, O not thus
You carry the seven sorrows of the earth.