Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 329. The Two Worlds
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
329. The Two Worlds
By Alfred Noyes  (b. 1880)
  
THIS outer world is but the pictured scroll
  Of worlds within the soul,
A coloured chart, a blazoned missal-book
  Whereon who rightly look
May spell the splendours with their mortal eyes        5
  And steer to Paradise.
 
O, well for him that knows and early knows
  In his own soul the rose
Secretly burgeons, of this earthly flower
  The heavenly paramour:       10
And all these fairy dreams of green-wood fern,
  These waves that break and yearn,
Shadows and hieroglyphs, hills, clouds and seas,
  Faces and flowers and trees,
Terrestrial picture-parables, relate       15
  Each to its heavenly mate.
 
O, well for him that finds in sky and sea
  This two-fold mystery,
And loses not (as painfully he spells
  The fine-spun syllables)       20
The cadences, the burning inner gleam,
  The poet’s heavenly dream.
 
Well for the poet if this earthly chart
  Be printed in his heart,
When to his world of spirit woods and seas       25
  With eager face he flees
And treads the untrodden fields of unknown flowers
  And threads the angelic bowers,
And hears that unheard nightingale whose moan
  Trembles within his own,       30
And lovers murmuring in the leafy lanes
  Of his own joys and pains.
 
For though he voyages further than the flight
  Of earthly day and night,
Traversing to the sky’s remotest ends       35
  A world that he transcends,
Safe, he shall hear the hidden breakers roar
  Against the mystic shore;
Shall roam the yellow sands where sirens bare
  Their breasts and wind their hair;       40
Shall with their perfumed tresses blind his eyes,
  And still possess the skies.
 
He, where the deep unearthly jungles are,
  Beneath his Eastern star
Shall pass the tawny lion in his den       45
  And cross the quaking fen.
He learnt his path (and treads it undefiled)
  When, as a little child,
He bent his head with long and loving looks
  O’er earthly picture-books.       50
His earthly love nestles against his side,
  His young celestial guide.

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