Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 243. The Veteran of Heaven
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
243. The Veteran of Heaven
By Francis Thompson  (1859–1907)
  
O CAPTAIN of the wars, whence won Ye so great scars?
  In what fight did Ye smite, and what manner was the foe?
Was it on a day of rout they compassed Thee about,
  Or gat Ye these adornings when Ye wrought their overthrow?
 
‘’Twas on a day of rout they girded Me about,        5
  They wounded all My brow, and they smote Me through the side:
My hand held no sword when I met their armèd horde,
  And the conqueror fell down, and the Conquered bruised his pride.’
 
What is this, unheard before, that the Unarmed make war,
  And the Slain hath the gain, and the Victor hath the rout?       10
What wars, then, are these, and what the enemies,
  Strange Chief, with the scars of Thy conquest trenched about?
 
‘The Prince I drave forth held the Mount of the North,
  Girt with the guards of flame that roll round the pole.
I drave him with My wars from all his fortress-stars,       15
  And the sea of death divided that My march might strike its goal.
 
‘In the keep of Northern Guard, many a great daemonian sword
  Burns as it turns round the Mount occult, apart:
There is given him power and place still for some certain days,
  And his name would turn the Sun’s blood back upon its heart.’       20
 
What is Thy Name? Oh, show!—‘My Name ye may not know;
  ’Tis a going forth with banners, and a baring of much swords:
But My titles that are high, are they not upon My thigh?
  “King of Kings!” are the words, “Lord of Lords!”
  It is written “King of Kings, Lord of Lords”.’       25

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