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THREE SONNETS

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                   HAWKER OF MORWENSTOW

    STRONG shepherd of thy sheep, pasturers of the sea :
Far on the Western marge, thy passionate Cornish land !
Ah, that from out thy Paradise thou couldst thine hand
Reach forth to mine, and I might tell my love to thee !
For one the faith, and one the joy, of thee and me,
Catholic faith and Celtic joy : I understand
Somewhat, I too, the messengers from Sion strand ;
The voices and the visions of the Mystery.

Ah, not the Chaunt alone was thine : thine too the Quest !
And at the last the Sangraal of the Paschal Christ
Flashed down Its fair red Glory to those dying eyes :
They closed in death, and opened on the Victim’s Breast.
Now, while they look for ever on the Sacrificed,
Remember, how thine ancient race in twilight lies !



    MOTHER ANN: FOUNDRESS OF THE SHAKERS

    WHITE were the ardours of thy soul, O wan Ann Lee !
Thou spirit of fine fire, for every storm to shake !
They shook indeed the quivering flame ; yet could not make
Its passionate light expire, but only make it flee :
Over the vast, the murmuring, the embittered sea,
Driven, it gleamed : no agonies availed to break
That burning heart, so hot for heavenly passion’s sake ;
The heart, that beat, and burned, and agonized, in thee !
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76                              THE SAVOY

Thou knewest not : yet thine was altar flame astray :
Poor exiled, wandering star, that might’st have stayed and stood
Hard by the Holy Host, close to the Holy Rood,
Illumining the great one Truth, one Life, one Way !
O piteous pilgrim pure amid night’s sisterhood :
For thee doth Mother Mary, Star of Morning, pray



                         MÜNSTER: a.d. 1534

WE are the golden men, who shall the people save :
For only ours are visions, perfect and divine ;
And we alone are drunken with the last best wine ;
And very Truth our souls hath flooded, wave on wave.
Come, wretched death’s inheritors, who dread the grave !
Come ! for upon our brows is set the starry sign
Of prophet, priest, and king : star of the Lion’s line !
Leave Abana, leave Pharpar, and in Jordan lave !

It thundered, and we heard : it lightened, and we saw :
Our hands have torn in twain the Tables of the Law :
Sons of the Spirit, we know nothing more of sin.
Come ! from the Tree of Eden take the mystic fruit :
Come ! pluck up God’s own knowledge by the abysmal root :
Come ! you, who would the Reign of Paradise begin.
                                                                                                Lionel Johnson.


MLA citation:

Johnson, Lionel. “Three Sonnets.” The Savoy, vol. 4, August 1896, pp. 75-76. Savoy Digital Edition, edited by Christopher Keep and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2018-2020. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019. https://1890s.ca/savoyv4-johnson-three/