Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MUNDI VICTIMA: 8, by ARTHUR WILLIAM SYMONS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MUNDI VICTIMA: 8, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Love, to the world, is the forbidden thing
Last Line: Of the redeeming mystery of love?

Love, to the world, is the forbidden thing;
And rightly, for the world is to the strong,
And the world's honour and increase must belong
To the few mighty triumphing through hate
And to the many meek who humbly wait
The grudging wage of daily drudgery.
The world is made for hate, for apathy,
For labouring greed that mines the earth for gold,
And sweats to gather dust into its hold:
Is not the world bought for a little dust?
Kingdoms are shaken from their ancient trust,
And kingdoms stablished upon treacheries;
Under the temple-roof of the same skies
The stones of altars older than their gods
Are beaten down, and in the old abodes
The smoke of a new incense blinds the stars;
The rind of the earth is eaten up by wars,
As a rat, gnawing, leaves a mouldering heap;
And the world drowses in a downy sleep,
The world being sworn confederate with success.
Yet will it pardon the forgetfulness
Of laughing loves that linger but a night
In the soft perfumed chambers of delight.
How should it pardon love? love whose intent
Is from the world to be in banishment,
Love that admits but fealty to one,
Love that is ever in rebellion.
The world is made for dutiful restraint,
Its martyrs are the lover and the saint,
All whom a fine and solitary rage
Urges on some ecstatic pilgrimage
In search of any Holy Sepulchre.
The lover is a lonely voyager
Over great seas and into lonely lands,
He speaks a tongue which no man understands,
Much given to silence, no good citizen,
His utmost joy to be apart from men,
For his creating mind has given birth,
God-like, to a new heaven and a new earth;
Where, if he dwell apart or in the crowd,
He talks with angels in a fiery cloud
Upon the mount of vision all his days.
Therefore the world, beholding in his face
Only the radiance of reflected light
Left by that incommunicable sight,
Which to the dim eyes of the world may seem
But the marsh-glimmer of a fevered dream,
Bids love renounce love, or be cast aside.
Has not the world's hate ever crucified,
From age to age, rejoicing in its loss,
Love on the same inevitable cross,
In every incarnation from above
Of the redeeming mystery of love?

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