Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 2. O LOVE - TO WHOM THE POETS, by EDWARD CARPENTER



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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 2. O LOVE - TO WHOM THE POETS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O love - to whom the poets have made verses
Last Line: Do I praise thee.
Subject(s): Art & Artists; Love; Poetry & Poets


O LOVE—to whom the poets have made verses—
Whom the shepherds on the hills have piped to, and maidens sighed within
their lonely bowers,
Whom the minstrels have sung, handing down their songs from one generation
to another—
To thy praise over the world resounding
I add my strain.

Not because thou art fair;
Not because thine eyes glance winningly, nor because of the sly arch of
thine eyebrows;
Not because thy voice is like music played in the open air,
And thy coming like the dawn on the far-off mountains;
Not because thou comest with the dance and the song, and because the
flashing of thy feet is like the winds of Spring;
Nor because thou art sweetly perfumed,
Do I praise thee.

Not because thy dwelling is among knights and ladies—afar from all
that is common or gross;
Not because thou delayest to the sound of playing fountains on marble
terraces,
And white hands caress thee and clip thy wing-feathers,
And meek thoughts and blameless conversation attend thee;
Not because thy place is among the flowers and the wine-cups in spacious
halls,
And because the sight of Death appals thee;
Nor because, love, thou art a child:

But because as on me now, full-grown giantesque out of the ground out of
the common earth arising,
Very awful and terrible in heaven thou appearest;
Because as thou comest to me in thy majesty sweeping over the world with
lightnings and black darkness,
[And the old order shrivels and disappears from thy face,]
I am as a leaf borne, as a fragrance exhaled before thee—
As a bird crying singed by the prairie-fire;
Because Thou rulest O glorious, and before thee all else fails,
And at thy dread new command—at thy new word Democracy—the
children of the earth and the sea and the sky find their voices, and the
despised things come forth and rejoice;
Because in thy arms O strong one I laugh Death to scorn—nay I go forth
to meet him with gladness;
Ay, because thou takest away from me all strength but thine own,
Because thou takest all doubt and power of resistance,
Because out of disallowed and unaccepted things—and always out of
these—full-armed and terrific,
Like a smiting and consuming flame, O Love, O Democracy,
Even out of the faces and bodies of the huge and tameless multitudes of the
Earth,
A great ocean of fire with myriad tongues licking the vault of heaven,
Thou arisest—
Therefore O love O flame wherein I burning die and am consumed, carried
aloft to the stars a disembodied voice—
O dread Creator and Destroyer,
Do I praise Thee.





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