Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 251. Of Consummation
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
251. Of Consummation
By Arthur Edward Waite  (b. 1860)
  
WISE, O heart, is the heart which loves; but what of the heart which refrains—
Not as if counting the cost, and preferring the ease to the pains,
But knowing how treasures of all are neither received nor given,
The aching void that is under love and above it the aching heaven?
 
Wise are the lips which have learn’d how long may linger the lips’ caress,        5
But wiser they who the hungering lips can chasten and repress,
For that which our fain mouths burn to kiss and loving arms to embrace
Has never been given to lips or arms in the world of time and space.
 
Wise, therefore, and wise above all, is he who does not swerve aside,
But knows to his greatest need on earth is service of earth denied;       10
Who, least things asking of flesh and blood, and less than the least of rest,
Goes on demanding the perfect good and disdaining the second best.
 
After much conquest and toil no doubt, but high in his starry tracks,
Shall the greater ministers come to him burning the sacred flax,
Saying: So passes the world and so the glory and light expend;       15
But the High Term, follow’d unflinching, cries: I can repay at the end.

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