To-night I tread the unsubstantial way That looms before me, as the thundering night Falls on the ocean: I must stop, and pray One little prayer, and then - what bitter fight Flames at the end beyond the darkling goal? These are my passions that my feet must read; This is my sword, the fervour of my soul; This is my Will, the crown upon my head. For see! the darkness beckons: I have gone, Before this terrible hour, towards the gloom, Braved the wild dragon, called the tiger on With whirling cries of pride, sought out the tomb Where lurking vampires battened, and my steel Has wrought its splendour through the gates of death My courage did not falter: now I feel My heart beat wave-wise, and my throat catch breath As if I choked; some horror creeps between The spirit of my will and its desire, Some just reluctance to the Great Unseen That coils its nameless terrors, and its dire Fear round my heart; a devil cold as ice Breathes somewhere, for I feel his shudder take My veins: some deadlier asp or cockatrice Slimes in my senses: I am half awake, Half automatic, as I move along Wrapped in a cloud of blackness deep as hell, Hearing afar some half-forgotten song As of disruption; yet strange glories dwell Above my head, as if a sword of light, Rayed of the very Dawn, would strike within The limitations of this deadly night That folds me for the sign of death and sin - O Light! descend! My feet move vaguely on In this amazing darkness, in the gloom That I can touch with trembling sense. There shone Once, in my misty memory, in the womb Of some unformulated thought, the flame And smoke of mighty pillars; yet my mind Is clouded with the horror of this same Path of the wise men: for my soul is blind Yet: and the foemen I have never feared I could not see (if such should cross the way), And therefore I am strange: my soul is seared With desolation of the blinding day I have come out from: yes, that fearful light Was not the Sun: my life has been the death, This death may be the life: my spirit sight Knows that at last, at least. My doubtful breath Is breathing in a nobler air; I know, I know it in my soul, despite of this, The clinging darkness of the Long Ago, Cruel as death, and closer than a kiss, This horror of great darkness. I am come Into this darkness to attain the light: To gain my voice I make myself as dumb: That I may see I close my outer sight: So, I am here. My brows are bent in prayer: I kneel already in the Gates of Dawn; And I am come, albeit unaware, To the deep sanctuary: my hope is drawn From wells profounder than the very sea. Yea, I am come, where least I guessed it so, Into the very Presence of the Three That Are beyond all Gods. And now I know What spiritual Light is drawing me Up to its stooping splendour. In my soul I feel the Spring, the all-devouring Dawn, Rush with my Rising. There, beyond the goal, The Veil is rent!