The Wild Knight and Other Poems/The World’s Lover
My eyes are full of lonely mirth:
Reeling with want and worn with scars,
For pride of every stone on earth,
I shake my spear at all the stars.
A live bat beats my crest above,
Lean foxes nose where I have trod,
And on my naked face the love
Which is the loneliness of God.
Outlawed: since that great day gone by--
When before prince and pope and queen
I stood and spoke a blasphemy--
'Behold the summer leaves are green.'
They cursed me: what was that to me
Who in that summer darkness furled,
With but an owl and snail to see,
Had blessed and conquered all the world?
They bound me to the scourging-stake,
They laid their whips of thorn on me;
I wept to see the green rods break,
Though blood be beautiful to see.
Beneath the gallows' foot abhorred
The crowds cry 'Crucify!' and 'Kill!'
Higher the priests sing, 'Praise the Lord,
The warlock dies'; and higher still
Shall heaven and earth hear one cry sent
Even from the hideous gibbet height,
'Praise to the Lord Omnipotent,
The vultures have a feast to-night.'