Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WEDDING FEAST: 2, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH

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THE WEDDING FEAST: 2, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: With fires bedight that magic sprite
Last Line: "eternal and angelic creature."
Subject(s): Marriage; Weddings; Husbands; Wives

With fires bedight that magic sprite
Leaped upon my back to ride.
He was a creature fierce and bright.
He struck his spurs into my side.
"Oh leave me to my mortal mirth!
I am afraid of that bright spirit.
I am too young to quit this earth.
Nay, let me this sweet earth inherit.
"If I should gaze upon her face
A fearful change on me would come.
Then I should be estranged with grace,
An alien in my home.
"When at the hearth I drive my loom
And my love gazes in my eyes,
He will see powers and thrones and doom
And suns and stars and ancient skies.
"Then, when he reaches for my hands,
No smallness will he comfort there,
But he will touch the seas, the lands,
The seasons and the throbbing air.
"When from her splendor I return
And in the flesh dwell once again,
Too mystic warm my heart shall burn
To please the hearts of men.
"Unearthly bright my brow would gleam
To them that hate all brightness still.
My laughing calm to them would seem
Like snow upon a hill.
"They would resent my high emprise,
My haunted speech, my echoing mien.
I could not shake from out mine eyes
The visions they had seen.
"I should be charged with errands high,
Strange roads should bind my speeding feet.
Then I should be a voice, a cry,
A portent in the street.
"I fear her call. I fear her face.
I fear the silent, shining change.
They will stone me in the market place
For uttering lovely things and strange!
"But oh, not they, with living whips,
Shall scourge from me my folded wings,
Nor burn with flames from off my lips
Murmurs of dread ecstatic things.
"But yet, abhorring when I go
With gracious gifts, sweet as the sky,
They in the dust will lay me low,
And at the last will crucify.
"Lord, let me keep these eyes that weep,
This heart that breaks, these wounds to bind,
These limbs that leap, that dance, that sleep,
And nearness to my kind!"
He laughed aloud, as in a cloud
A meteor beats and clings.
So in my thought his voice was wrought.
He flashed his bright, melodious wings.
"Too late! Too late! Thou canst not choose.
She calls thee from Her radiant spheres.
What thou dost now with tears refuse
To-night thou shalt beseech with tears.
"For thou must come to Her with blood,
Purged brightly clean with mightiest grief,
With chastened longing and a mood
Humble beyond belief.
"I'll show thee many an empty sight.
Through many a void shalt thou run,
Until thou wailest for the light
In the city of the sun.
"Until, deep panting for the light,
Thou layest down thy mortal nature.
Then shalt thou be transformed and bright,
Eternal and angelic creature."

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