by Adah Isaacs Menken
To me, for ever, the seat near the blood of the feast.
To me, for ever, the station near the Throne of Love!
To me, for ever, the Kingdom of Heaven-and I the least.
Oh, the least in love-
The least in joy-
The least in life-
The least in death-
The least in beauty-
The least in eternity.
So much of rich, foaming, bubbling human blood drank down into the everlasting sea of Sin.
The jasper gates are closed on the crimson highway of the clouds.
The Seven Angels stand on guard.
Seven thunders utter their voices.
And the angels have not sealed up those things which the seven thunders have uttered.
I have pleaded to the seventh angel for the little book.
But he heedeth me not.
All life is bitter, not one drop as sweet as honey.
And yet I prophesy before many people, and nations, and tongues, and kings!
The little golden key which the first angel entrusted to me.
The gates are closed, and I may not enter.
Yet arrayed in folds of white, these angels are more terrible to me than the fabled watcher of the Hesperides golden treasures.
Because it is I alone of all God's creatures that am shut out.
For others the bolts are withdrawn, and the little book unsealed.
With wistful eyes, and longing heart, I wander in the distance, waiting for the angels to sleep.
Tremblingly I peer through the gloaming of horrid shadows, and visions of wasted moments.
But the white eyelids of the angels never droop.
In vain I plead to them that it was I who built the throne.
In vain do I tell them that it was I who gemmed it with Faith and Truth, and the dews of my life's morn.
In vain do I tell them that they are my hopes which they stand in solemn guard to watch.
In vain do I plead my right as queen of the starry highway.
In vain do I bind my golden tresses with the pale lilies of the valley.
In vain do I display to them my purple broidered robes, and the silver badge of God's eternal bards that I wear on my white bosom.
In vain do I wind my soft arms around their silver-sandaled feet.
They heed me not.
But point to the whirlpool called the world.
Must the warm, living, loving soul a wanderer be?
Are all its yearnings vain?
Are all its prayings vain?
Will there be no light to guide me?
Will there be strong arm at the helm?
Must the full lamp of life wane so early?
Ah, I see, all is lost-lost-lost!
Deep into the depths!
Struggling all the day-time-weeping all the night-time!
Writing away all vitality.
Talking to people, nations, tongues, and kings that heed me not.
Cast out of my own kingdom on to the barren battleplain of bloodless life.
A thousand foes advancing?
A thousand weapons glancing!
And I in the sternest scene of strife.
Panting wildly in the race.
Malice and Envy on the track.
Fleet of foot, they front me with their daggers at my breast.
All heedless of my tears and prayers, they tear the white flowers from my brow, and the olive leaves from my breast, and soil with their blood-marked hands the broidered robes of purple beauty.
Life's gems are torn from me, and in scattered fragments around me lie.
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord!
Weeping all the night-time.
Weeping sad and chill through the lone woods.
Straying 'mong the ghostly trees.
Wandering through the rustling leaves.
Sobbing to the moon, whose icy light wraps me like a shroud.
Leaning on a hoary rock, praying to the mocking stars.
With Love's o'erwhelming power startling my soul like an earthquake shock.
I lift my voice above the low howl of the winds to call my Eros to come and give me light and life once more.
His broad arms can raise me up to the light, and his red lips can kiss me back to life.
I heed not the storm of the world, nor the clashing of its steel.
How can I live so deep into the depths with all this wealth of love?
Oh, unspeakable, passionate fire of love!
Cold blood heedeth ye not.
Cold eyes know ye not.
But in this wild soul of seething passion we have warmed together.
I feel thy lava tide dashing recklessly through every blue course!
Grand, beauteous Love!
Let us live alone, far from the world of battle and pain, where we can forget this grief that has plunged me into the depths.
We will revel in ourselves.
Come, Eros, thou creator of this divine passion, come and lay my weary head on your bosom.
Draw me close up to your white breast and lull me to sleep.
Smooth back the damp, tangled mass from my pale brow.
I am so weary of battle-
Take this heavy shield.
I am so weary of toil-
Loosen my garments.
Now, wrap me close in your bosom to rest.
Let your breath warm my cold face.
This is life-this is love!
Oh, kiss me till I sleep-till I sleep-I sleep.
Last updated July 05, 2015