Philip James Bailey

22 April 1816 - 6 September 1902 / England


Who shall commemorate all Thy chosen names
Thou who art Sire at once and Son of man?
Servant, friend, brother, bridegroom, husband, Lord,
Priest, advocate, physician, teacher, guide,
King, conqueror and master, world--adored!
Owner of all things here, and almoner!--
Thou the Divine Protagonist of time,
The everlasting sacrifice; the world's
Eternal victim, Thou, and victor God!
On high the light of all perfections, here
The blessed shadow! Sun of righteousness,
And star of wisdom lonely in the Heavens!--
The cloud of glory in life's wilderness,
The splendour in the temple; Temple, rock,
City of refuge! Branch and root, and vine!
Tree, too, of Life, of knowledge! Almond tree
First flowering from the wintry world of death!--
Thou too the olive, whence distils the oil
Of inspiration for the elect anoint!--
Robe, sceptre, crown and shield! Eye, arm and head!--
Earth's corner stone and architect of Heaven!--
Fire, fountain, river! Sacrifice for sin,
And Sin itself! The serpent of the saved,
The Angel of redemption, and our God!--
Curse transessentiate into blessing! Man,
Angel and Deity! The All in all,
The one sole Being of the universe!
The Lord of armies, and the Prince of peace,
Whose humblest follower is a prince with God!--
Our fellow--heir and our inheritance,
Witness and Judge, and ransom and reward,
Originator, mediator, Fine!
For Thou art all of these, and Thou alone!--
The knowledge of God is the wisdom of man--
This is the end of Being, wisdom; this
Of wisdom, action; and of action, rest;
And of rest, bliss; that by experience sage
Of good and ill, the diametric powers
Which thwart the world, the thrice--born might discern
That death divine alone can perfect both,
The mediate and initiate; that between
The Deity and nothing, nothing is.

The Atlantean axis of the world
And all the undescribed circumference,
Where earth's thick breath thins off to blankest space
Uniting with inanity, this truth
Confess, the sun--sire and the death--world too,
And undeflected spirit pure from Heaven,
That He who makes, destroying, saves the whole.
The Former and Re--Former of the world
In wisdom's holy spirit all renew.

To know this, is to read the runes of old,
Wrought in the time--outlasting rock; to see
Unblinded in the heart of light; to feel
Keen through the soul, the same essential strain,
Which vivifies the clear and fire--eyed stars,
Still harping their serene and silvery spell
In the perpetual presence of the skies,
And of the world--cored calm, where silence sits
In secret light all hidden; this to know--
Brings down the fiery unction from on high,
The spiritual chrism of the sun,
Which hallows and ordains the regnant soul--
Transmutes the splendid fluid of the frame
Into a fountain of divine delight,
And renovative nature;--shews us earth,
One with the great galactic line of life
Which parts the hemispheral palm of Heaven;
This with all spheres of Being makes concord
As at the first creation, in that peace,
Premotional, preelemental, prime,
Which is the hope of earth, the joy of Heaven,
The choice of the elect, the grace of life,
The blessing and the glory of our God.

And--as the vesper hymn of time precedes
The starry matins of Eternity,
And daybreak of existence in the Heavens,--
To know this, is to know we shall depart
Into the storm--surrounding calm on high,
The sacred cirque, the all--central infinite
Of that self blessedness wherein abides
Our God, all kind, all loving, all beloved;--
To feel life one great ritual, and its laws,
Writ in the vital rubric of the blood,
Flow in obedience and flow out command,
In sealike circulation; and be here
Accepted as a gift by Him who gives
An empire as an alms, nor counts it aught,
So long as all His creatures joy in Him,
The great Rejoicer of the Universe,
Whom all the boundless spheres of Being bless.
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