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Would chatter with the cold, and all my

beard Was tagg’d with icy fringes in the moon, I drown'd the whoopings of the owl with

sound Of pious hymns and psalms, and some

times saw An angel stand and watch me, as I sang. Now am I feeble grown; my end draws

nigh; I hope my end draws nigh: half deaf I So that I scarce can hear the people hum About the column's base, and almost blind, And scarce can recognise the fields I

know; And both my thighs are rotted with the

dew; Yet cease I not to clamour and to cry, While my stiff spine can hold my weary

head, Till all my limbs drop piecemeal from the

stone, Have mercy, mercy: take away my sin.

O Jesus, if thou wilt not save my soul, Who may be saved? who is it may be

saved? Who may be made a saint, if I fail here? Show me the man hath suffer'd more

than I. For did not all thy martyrs die one death? For either they were stoned, or crucified, Or burn'd in fire, or boil'd in oil, or sawn In twain beneath the ribs; but I die here To-day, and whole years long, a life of

death. Bear witness, if I could have found a way (And heedfully I sifted alt my thought) More slowly-painful to subdue this home Of sin, my flesh, which I despise and hate, I had not stinted practice, () my God.

For not alone this pillar-punishment, Not this alone I bore: but while I lived In the white convent down the valley there, For many weeks about my loins I wore The rope that haled the buckets from the

I bore, whereof, O God, thou knowest all. Three winters, that my soul might

grow to thee, I lived up there on yonder mountain

side. My right leg chain'd into the crag, I lay Pent in a roofless close of ragged stones; Inswathed sometimes in wandering mist,

and twice Black'd with thy branding thunder, and

sometimes Sucking the damps for drink, and eating

not, Except the spare chance-gift of those

that came To touch my body and be heal'd, and live : And they say then that I work'd miracles, Whereof my fame is loud amongst man

kind, Cured lameness, palsies, cancers. Thou,

O God, Knowest alone whether this was or no. Have mercy, mercy! cover all my sin. Then, that I might be more alone

with thee, Three years I lived upon a pillar, high Six cubits, and three years on one of

twelve; And twice three years I crouch'd on one

that rose Twenty by measure; last of all, I grew Twice ten long weary weary years to this, That numbers forty cubits from the soil. I think that I have borne as much as

this — Or else I dream -- and for so long a time, If I may measure time by yon slow light, And this high dial, which my sorrow

crowns So much even so,

And yet I know not well, For that the evil ones come here, and say, • Fall down, O Simeon: thou hast suffer'd

long For ages and for ages!' then they prate Of penances I cannot have gone thro”, Perplexing me with lies; and oft I fall, Maybe for months, in such blind lethargies That Heaven, and Earth, and Time are


But yet

Bethink thee, Lord, while thou and all Power goes

Twisted as tight as I could knot the noose;
And spake not of it to a single soul,
Until the ulcer, eating thro' my skin,
Betray'd my secret penance, so that all
My brethren marvell’d greatly. more

than this

the saints

Enjoy themselves in heaven, and men on

earth House in the shade of comfortable roofs, Sit with their wives by fires, eat whole

some food, And wear warm clothes, and even beasts

have stalls, 1, 'tween the spring and downfall of the

light, Bow down one thousand and two hundred

times, To Christ, the Virgin Mother, and the

saints; Or in the night, after a little sleep, I wake: the chill stars sparkle; I am wet With drenching dews, or stiff with crack

ling frost. I wear an undress'd goatskin on my

back; A grazing iron collar grinds my neck; And in my weak, lean armis I list the

Cross, And strive and wrestle with thee till i

die: O mercy, mercy! wash away my sin. O Lord, thou knowest what a man I

am; A sinful man, conceived and born in sin : 'Tis their own doing; this is none of

mine; Lay it not to me. Am I to blame for

this, That here come those that worship me?

Ha! ha! They think that I am somewhat. What

May match his pains with mine; but

what of that? Yet do not rise; for you may look on me, And in your looking you may kneel to

God. Speak! is there any of you halt or maim'd? I think you know I have some power

with Heaven From my long penance: let him speak

his wish. Yes, I can heal him.

forth from me. They say that they are heal'd. Ah,

hark! they shout St. Simeon Stylites.' Why, if so, God reaps a harvest in me. O my soul, God reaps a harvest in thee. If this be, Can I work miracles and not be saved ? This is not told of any. They were saints. It cannot be but that I shall be saved; Yea, crown'd a saint. They shout,

• Behold a saint!' And lower voices saint me from above. Courage, St. Simeon! This dull chrysalis Cracks into shining wings, and hope ere

death Spreads more and more and more, that

God hath now Sponged and made blank of crimeful

record all My mortal archives.

O my sons, my sons, I, Simeon of the pillar, by surname Stylites, among men; I, Simeon, The watcher on the column till the end; I, Simeon, whose brain the sunshine

bakes; I, whose bald brows in silent hours

become Unnaturally hoar with rime, do now From my high nest of penance here pro

claim That Pontius and Iscariot by my side Show'd like fair seraphs. On the coals

I lay, A vessel full of sin : all hell beneath Made me boil over. Devils pluck'd my

sleeve, Abaddon and Asmodeus caught at me. I smote them with the cross; they

swarm'd again. In bed like monstrous apes they crush'd

my chest:

am I?

The silly people take me for a saint,
And bring me offerings of fruit and

flowers: And I, in truth (thou wilt bear witness

here) Have all in all endured as much, and

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If it may

They flapp'd my light out as I read: I Their faces grow between me and my

book; With colt-like whinny and with hoggish

whine They burst my prayer.

Yet this way was left, And by this way I 'scaped them. Mortify Your flesh, like me, with scourges and

with thorns; Smite, shrink not, spare not.

be, fast Whole Lents, and pray. I hardly, with

slow steps, With slow, faint steps, and much exceed

ing pain, Have scrambled past those pits of fire,

that still Sing in mine ears. But yield not me the

praise : God only thro' his bounty hath thought fit, Among the powers and princes of this

world, To make me an example to mankind, Which few can reach to. Yet I do not

say But that a time may come

- yea, even now, Now, now, his footsteps smite the thresh

old stairs Of life - I say, that time is at the doors When you may worship me without re

proach; For I will leave my relics in your land, And you may carve a shrine about my

dust, And burn a fragrant lamp before my

bones, When I am gather'd to the glorious

saints. While I spake then, a sting of shrewd

est pain Ran shrivelling thro' me, and a cloudlike

change, In passing, with a grosser film made thick These heavy, horny eyes. The end! the

end ! Surely the end! What's here? a shape,

a shade, A flash of light. Is that the angel there That holds a crown? Come, blessed

brother, come.

I know thy glittering face. I waited

long; My brows are ready. What! deny it

now? Nay, draw, draw, draw nigh. So I

clutch it. Christ! 'Tis gone: 'tis here again; the crown!

the crown! So now 'tis fitted on and grows to me, And from it melt the dews of Paradise, Sweet! sweet! spikenard, and balm, and

frankincense. Ah! let me not be fool'd, sweet saints:

I trust That I am whole, and clean, and meet

for Heaven. Speak, if there be a priest, a man of

God, Among you there, and let him presently Approach, and lean a ladder on the

shast, And climbing up into my airy home, Deliver me the blessed sacrament; For by the warning of the Holy Ghost, I prophesy that I shall die to-night, A quarter before twelve.

But thou, O Lord, Aid all this foolish people; let them take Example, pattern: lead them to thy



ONCE more the gate behind me falls;

Once more before my face
I see the moulder'd Abbey-walls,

That stand within the chace.

Beyond the lodge the city lies,

Beneath its drift of smoke; And ah! with what delighted eyes

I turn to yonder oak.

For when my passion first began,

Ere that, which in me burn'd, The love, that makes me thrice a man,

Could hope itself return'd;

To yonder oak within the field

I spoke without restraint, And with a larger faith appeal'd

Than Papist unto Saint.

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