Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 382. The Deliverer
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
382. The Deliverer
By C. M. Verschoyle
  
(THE CITY quakes, the earth is filled with blood—
I, I that love Thee raised Thee on this Rood!)
 
Lord, I am least of all Thy followers,
Yet greatest in my love: devotion spurs
  Me on to strange deep thoughts and stranger deeds        5
My roughness planned not erst,
For all unversed
  In ways of love I would content Thy needs,
Delight Thee with a flower, a word, a song,
Striving to make Thy toilsome way less long,       10
  Its stones less bitter, its rebuffs less rude,
  To guard Thee ’gainst the sharp ingratitude
Of those who beg Time and Eternity,
Both worlds at once, abusing clemency.
 
Dazzle them, Master, with a word       15
Such as the universe has never heard;
  Whisper it till the earth’s foundations quake,
  And fiery worlds awake
  And shake
Their burning pinions, and ring out the cry       20
  That shrilly echoes
Where between whirling planets flows
The ardent stream of palpitating light.
  Destroy the worlds, Oh Lord,
  With the one whispered word,       25
And with consuming flame illume the sight
  Of all those muddy souls who love Thee not.
Or bid the flying circles cease
And a great peace
  Thunder across immensity,       30
Enwrapping heaven and earth and sky.
  Bid the air cease to hum
  And all the murmuring orbs be dumb,
Suddenly, utterly,
  And shatter them with silence—       35
 
Yea, Master, I have borne to see Thee weep,
More deep
  The iron scarce could pierce my suffering soul;
Have seen Thee fast and pray,
  Struggle and sweat.       40
While the eleven slept the night away
  My brow was wet,
My heart beat high,
  For, lo, I read
  The scroll of Heaven emblazonèd,       45
And knew Thy triumph nigh—
 
(The city quakes, the air is full of blood—
I, I that love Thee raised Thee on this Rood!)
 
Scourged, spit upon, denied,
  I suffered all with Thee;       50
Raising Thee high that all should bend the knee.
That very royal crown of thorns
  That crimsoneth Thy brow—
So might gleam rubies set on snow,—
  I offered it; dear Master, look on me,       55
  Say, have I not done well?
  How my poor heart would swell
At praise from Thee—
  For see, without my deed,
Thy deed had not been done;       60
This be my meed
  They battle won—
And that down future ages, lighted by the torch
  That Thou dost kindle, men shall say—
 
(The city quaked, the air was full of blood,       65
Judas that loved Him raised Him on the Rood!)
 
Peter in the porch
  Warmed his chilled hands as he denied,
While Judas’ teeth did chatter before Caiaphas;
My darkness seemed a heavy monstrous mass       70
  With but one quivering light—Thy tortured death—
  Ay, for it pierced beneath
My heart into my spirit—yet I knew
Before the worlds that task I had to do;
  God set it me, let me fulfil       75
  His very bitter will—
 
Master, my voice is harsh, mine eyes are dim,
I should rejoice and hymn
  Thy great uplifting, high above all towers—
  Follow the circle round, there Judas cowers,       80
Lonely, forsaken, outcast, anguish-swayed;
Yet we are one, betrayer and Betrayed;
  Thou drinkest of my cup, I drink of Thine,
  Thou art immortal, I shall be divine;
Dreaming, Thou risest from Thy painful Throne,       85
Waking, Thou drawest to Thee me, Thine own.
  I kissed Thee gently—Thou hast understood?
Out on the silly cowards who deserted Thee,
  Whom men call good.
Thou and I are free,       90
We see not as the others see,
  We dream—
And that is times away.
  Far down the stream
Of heavenly ways we see our paths unite       95
  Where the veils fall, and day
For me replaces night—
 
(The city quakes, the earth is full of blood—
I, I that love Thee raised Thee on this Rood!)
 
Farewell, my Love, my Master, I have dared      100
  For Thee that lesser men had left undone,
Be my love hereby proved, I have not spared
  To give my God where God but gave His Son.
I bear such pains, my body was not formed
  To see the struggles of a dying God,      105
Or hold the terror of a prisoned soul
  Striving for freedom: I am fain
  Of silence, and the peace of night again.
Night brooding over Galilee,
And our small company      110
Each with his portioned dole
  Quietly laid about Thee on the sod,
Beneath which, now, there is no peace for me,
  For Thou and I have work to do—Oh God!
Forsaken, helpless, therefore doubly to be loved—      115
See how I yearn o’er Thee!
 
Yet are Thy throes soon past,
  And mine, aeonial, scarce begun,
For where Thy name is honoured, I am cursed;
  Outcast, reviled, I down the ages go,      120
Death but delivers me to greater woe.
  But where Thy passion is rehearsed
Our names are linkèd still,
And Thine shall such a heavenly dew distil
  That mine shall be washed pure and sweet some day,      125
And children’s lips sing ‘Judas’, like a kiss,
  But in no softer way
  Than fell that kiss with which I did betray
Thy sad humanity,
Freeing the Godhead for eternity—      130
 
(The city quakes, the air is full of blood,—
Judas that loves Thee raised Thee on this Rood!)
 
These triumphs are too keen, we die,
So sharp the sacrifice, the agony.
  Keep Thou the hapless Judas in Thy heart,      135
Nor fail me on that far-off day
When all that erred in my sad deed is purged away.
  My lowly part
Was just to make the sacrifice complete,
Adding to heavenly stature earthly feet:      140
  Thou art uplifted, I shall be cast down,
  Master, farewell, until my destined crown
Is won, and all Thou strivest for fulfilled.
I am not worthy that my blood be spilled
  Like Thine: in grosser pangs be spirit torn      145
  From my gross body, let the wide world scorn
So I but join Thee aeons after
Where the soft laughter
  Of the redeemed echoes about the heavenly space;
  And find, crouched at Thy feet, a little quiet place.      150
Then, when my courage grows, after awhile,
Murmur to me, with Thy celestial smile—
 
Judas! for the great love I bear to Thee
I grant thee to be crucified with Me!

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