Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 320. Regnum Caelorum Vim Patitur
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
320. Regnum Caelorum Vim Patitur
By Evelyn Underhill (Mrs. Stuart Moore)  (b. 1875)
  
WHEN our five-angled spears, that pierced the world
And drew its life-blood, faint before the wall
Which hems its secret splendour—when we fall,
Lance broken, banner furled,
Before that calm invincible defence        5
Whereon our folly hurled
The piteous armies of intelligence—
Then, often-times, we know
How conquering mercy to the battle field
Comes through the darkness, freely to bestow       10
The prize for which we fought
Not knowing what we sought,
And salve the wounds of those who would not yield.
 
He loves the valiant foe; he comes not out to meet
The craven soul made captive of its fear:       15
Not these the victories that to him are sweet!
But the impetuous soldiery of truth,
And knighthood of the intellectual quest,
Who ask not for his ruth
Nor would desire his rest:       20
These are to him most dear,
And shall in their surrender yet prevail.
Yea! at the end of unrewarded days,
By swift and secret ways
As on a sudden moonbeam shining clear,       25
Soft through the night shall slide upon their gaze
The thrice-defended vision of the Grail:
And when his peace hath triumphed, these shall be
The flower of his celestial chivalry.
 
And did you think, he saith       30
As to and fro he goes the trenches through,
My heart impregnable, that you must bring
The ballisters of faith
Their burning bolts to fling,
And all the cunning intricate device       35
Of human wit,
One little breach to make
That so you might attain to enter it?
Nay, on the other side
Love’s undefended postern is set wide:       40
But thus it is I woo
My dearest sons, that an ignoble ease
Shall never please,
Nor any smooth and open way entice.
Armed would I have them come       45
Against the mighty bastions of their home;
Out of high failure win
Their way within,
And from my conquering hand their birthright take.

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