When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him.
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
The simulacrum is never what hides the truth – it is truth that hides the fact that there is none.
The simulacrum is true.
And now the notes of anguish start to play
upon my ears; and now I find myself
where sounds on sounds of weeping pound at me.
I came to a place where no light shone at all,
bellowing like the sea racked by a tempest,
when warring winds attack it from both sides.
The infernal storm, eternal in its rage,
sweeps and drives the spirits with its blast:
it whirls them, lashing them with punishment.
When they are swept back past their place of judgement,
then come the shrieks, laments, and anguished cries;
there they blaspheme God’s almighty power.
I learned that to this place of punishment
all those who sin in lust have been condemned,
those who make reason slave to appetite;
and as the wings of starlings in the winter
bear them along in wide-spread, crowded flocks,
so does that wind propel the evil spirits:
now here, then there, and up and down, it drives them
with never any hope to comfort them-
hope not of rest but even of suffering less.
Translation by Mark Musa
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And, whether that my angel be turn’d fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell,
But being both from me both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another’s hell.
Yet this shall I ne’er know but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.