Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Walter Pater
By Lionel Johnson (1867–1902)
 
GRACIOUS God rest him! he who toiled so well
      Secrets of grace to tell
Graciously; as the awed rejoicing priest
      Officiates at the feast,
Knowing how deep within the liturgies        5
      Lie hid the mysteries.
Half of a passionately pensive soul
      He showed us, not the whole:
Who loved him best, they best, they only, knew
      The deeps they might not view;        10
That which was private between God and him;
      To others, justly dim.
Calm Oxford autumns and preluding springs!
      To me your memory brings
Delight upon delight, but chiefest one:        15
      The thought of Oxford’s son,
Who gave me of his welcome and his praise,
      When white were still my days;
Ere death had left life darkling, nor had sent
      Lament upon lament:        20
Ere sorrow told me how I loved my lost
      And bade me base love’s cost.
Scholarship’s constant saint, he kept her light
      In him divinely white:
With cloistral jealousness of ardour strove        25
      To guard her sacred grove,
Inviolate by worldly feet, nor paced
      In desecrating haste.
Oh, sweet grave smiling of that wisdom, brought
      From arduous ways of thought;        30
Oh, golden patience of that travailing soul
      So hungered for the goal,
And vowed to keep, through subtly vigilant pain,
      From pastime on the plain,
Enamoured of the difficult mountain air        35
      Up beauty’s Hill of Prayer!
*        *        *        *        *
Ended, his service: yet albeit farewell
      Tolls the faint vesper bell,
Patient beneath his Oxford trees and towers
      He still is gently ours:        40
Hierarch of the spirit, pure and strong,
      Worthy Uranian song.
Gracious God keep him: and God grant to me
      By miracle to see
That unforgettably most gracious friend,        45
      In the never-ending end.
 
 
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