Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
VI. Human Experience
The Pilgrimage
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618)
 
GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,
  My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
  My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope’s true gauge;        5
  And thus I ’ll take my pilgrimage!
 
Blood must be my body’s balmer,
No other balm will there be given;
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,
Travelleth towards the land of Heaven,        10
Over the silver mountains
Where spring the nectar fountains:
        There will I kiss
        The bowl of bliss,
And drink mine everlasting fill        15
Upon every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before,
But after, it will thirst no more.
 
Then by that happy, blissful day,
More peaceful pilgrims I shall see,        20
That have cast off their rags of clay,
And walk apparelled fresh like me.
        I ’ll take them first
        To quench their thirst,
And taste of nectar’s suckets        25
        At those clear wells
        Where sweetness dwells
Drawn up by saints in crystal buckets.
 
And when our bottles and all we
Are filled with immortality,        30
Then the blest paths we ’ll travel,
Strewed with rubies thick as gravel,—
Ceilings of diamonds, sapphire floors,
High walls of coral, and pearly bowers.
From thence to Heaven’s bribeless hall,        35
Where no corrupted voices brawl;
No conscience molten into gold,
No forged accuser, bought or sold,
No cause deferred, no vain-spent journey,
For there Christ is the King’s Attorney;        40
Who pleads for all without degrees,
And he hath angels, but no fees;
And when the grand twelve-million jury
Of our sins, with direful fury,
’Gainst our souls black verdicts give,        45
Christ pleads his death, and then we live.
Be thou my speaker, taintless pleader,
Unblotted lawyer, true proceeder!
Thou giv’st salvation even for alms,—
Not with a bribèd lawyer’s palms.        50
And this is mine eternal plea
To Him that made heaven, earth, and sea,
That, since my flesh must die so soon,
And want a head to dine next noon,
Just at the stroke when my veins start and spread,        55
Set on my soul an everlasting head:
Then am I, like a palmer, fit
To tread those blest paths which before I writ.
 
Of death and judgment, heaven and hell,
Who oft doth think, must needs die well.        60
 
 
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