These verses were :-
Whence comes the consummation of all peace,
And dignity past fools to comprehend, In that dear favour she for me decrees,
Sealed by the daily-dulled name of Friend,-
Debased with what alloy,
And each knave's cheapened toy. This from her mouth doth sweet with sweetness mend, This in her presence is its own white end.
Fame counts past fame
The splendour of this name ; This is calm deep of unperturbed joy.
Now, Friend, short sweet outsweetening sharpest woes !
In wintry cold a little, little flame- So much to me that little !-here I close
This errant song. 0 pardon its much blame I
Now my grey day grows bright
A little ere the night; Let after-livers who may love my name, And gauge the price I paid for dear-bought fame,
Know that at end,
Pain was well paid, sweet Friend, Pain was well paid which brought me to your sight.
Pain he proclaimed a pleasure. Why, then, did he call his pains a sacrifice ? " Delight has taken Pain to her heart" was the sum of St. Francis's teaching on a subject dear to the guest at the Franciscan monastery-gates. He himself wrote a commentary on St. Francis :
" Pain, which came to man as a penalty, remains with him as a consecration; his ignominy, by a Divine ingenuity, he is enabled to make his exaltation. Man, shrinking from pain, is a child shuddering on the verge of the water, and crying, ' It is so cold !'
How many among us, after repeated lessonings of experience, are never able to comprehend that there is no special love without special pain ? To such St. Francis reveals that the Supreme Love is itself full of Supreme Pain. It is fire, it is torture; his human weakness accuses himself of rashness in provoking it, even while his soul demands more pain, if it be necessary for more Love. So he revealed to one of his companions that the pain of his stigmata was agonising, but was accompanied by a sweetness so intense as made it ecstatic to him. Such is the preaching of his words and example to an age which understands it not. Pain is. Pain is inevadible. Pain may be made the instrument of joy. It is the angel with the fiery sword guarding the gates of the lost Eden. The flaming sword which pricked man from Paradise must wave him back."
The something awry, the disordering of sympathy, the distorting perspective, is hard to name. Perhaps loneliness, perhaps disease, perhaps his poetry, perhaps the devil. But it was there-a distemper, with his own discomfort for its worst symptom. Like the child that meditates upon the sweet it sucks, while it watches the progress of a squabbling world in the back-yard, he could be above the control of his environment; but the sweet once sucked, the poetry gone, he heard and saw and felt, and was sad and sore.
To each a separate loveliness, Environed by Thy sole caress.
0 Christ the Just, and can it be
1 am made for love, no love for me ? Of two loves, one at least be mine ; Love of earth, though I repine,
I have not, nor, O just Christ, Thine ! Can life miss, doubly sacrificed, Kiss of maid and kiss of Christ ? Ah, can I, doubly-wretched, miss Maid's kiss, and Thy perfect kiss ?
Not all kisses, woe is me !
Are kissed true and holily.
Not all clasps; there be embraces
Add a shame-tip to the daisies.
These if, O dear Christ, i have known
Let all my loveless lips atone.
In a letter to A. M :-
"... I have suffered from reticence all my life: the opening out of hearts and minds, where there is confidence, puts an end to so much secret trouble that would grow monstrous if it were brooded over."
And in his verse :-
. . . The once accursed star which me did teach To make of silence my familiar.
And again, from Elgin Avenue :-
" Dear Mrs. Meynell,-I have been musing a little on the theme mentioned between us this afternoon ; and some frequent thoughts have returned to me-or, I should say, recollections of frequent experience. (The theme 1 mean is the difficulty of communicating oneself. By the way, R. L. S.'s theme is more distinct from yours than I quite realised this afternoon. His is sincerity of intercourse, yours is rather adequacy of intercourse, and the two, though they may overlap and react on each other, are far from identical.)
" But the thoughts of which I speak (they are but one or two) are as useless to myself as pebbles would be to a savage, who had neither skill to polish them nor knowledge whether they were worth the polishing. So I am moved to send them to the lapidary. If anything should appear in them worth the saying, how glad I would be that it should find in you a sayer. But it is a more possible chance that poor thoughts of mine may, by a beautiful caprice of nature, stir subtle thoughts in you. When branches are so thickly laden as yours, a child's pebble may bring down the fruit.
" First, then, there is one obstacle to communication which exists little, if at all, for the generality, but is omnipresent with the sensitive and meditative who are destitute of nimble blood. I mean the slow and indeterminate beginnings of their thought. For example, such a person is looking at a landscape. Her (suffer me to use the feminine pronoun-it takes the chill off the egotism of the thing, to assume even by way of speech, that in analysing my own experience I am analysing yours) companion asks her, 'What are you thinking of ?' A child under such circumstances (to illustrate by an extreme antithesis) would need no questioning. Its vivid, positive thoughts and sensations have to themselves a glib and unpremeditated voice. But she ? She is hardly thinking: she is feeling. Yet ' feeling' is too determinate and distinctive a term: nay, her state is too sub-intellectual for the term to be adequate. It is sensoriness instinct with mind; it is mind subdued to sensoriness. She feels in her brain. She thinks at her periphery. It is blended twilight of intellect and sensation ; it is the crepuscular of thought. It is a state whose one possible utterance would be music. Thought in this subtle stage cannot pass into words because it lacks the detail; as the voice, without division, cannot pass into speech ; as a smooth and even crystal has no brilliance. To that 'What are you thinking of ?' she can only answer ' Nothing' or ' Nothing in particular,' and not unlikely, her companion, seeing that she was full of apparent thought, is discouraged at what seems her unsympathetic reticence. Yet she longed to utter herself, and envied the people who, at a moment's notice, can take a rough pull of their thoughts. If one could answer,' Stay a while, till my thoughts have mounted sufficiently to burst their dykes.'-But no : by that time his interest would have faded, and her words would find him listless. She towers so high to stoop on her quarry, that the spectator loses sight of her, and thinks she has lost sight of it. And the habit so engendered makes one slow of speech apart from slowness of thought. One cannot at the first signal mobilise one's words. How one wonders at the men, who, with an infinitely smaller vocabulary, have it always on a war-footing, and can instantly concentrate on a given subject.