The Fall

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

From that warm height and pure,
The peak undreamed of out of heavy air
Rising to heaven more strange and rare;
From that amazed brief sojourn, exquisite, insecure;

Fallen from thence to this,
From all immortal sunk to mortal sweet,
To slow gross joys from joy so fleet,
Fallen to mere remembrance of unsustainable bliss....

O harsh, O heavy air,
Difficult endurance, pain of common things!
The slow sun east to westward swings,
The flat-faced moon climbs labouring with a senseless stare.

From that inconceivable height----
O inward eyes that saw and ears that heard,
Spiritual swift wings that stirred
In that warm-flushing air and unendurable light;

When I was as mere down
On a swift-running youthful wind uptaken
Over tall trees, white mountains, shaken,
Into the uttermost azure lifted, lifted alone.

From that peak can it be
That I am fallen, fallen that was so high?
Or was that truly, surely I?
Who is it crawls here now, sad, uncontentedly?

Fallen from that high content,
--Fool, thou that wast content merely with bliss!
Happy those lovers that will not kiss;
Never to be fulfilled was the heart's endless passion meant.

Never on joys attainable
To linger, never on easy near delight--
O bitter, unreached infinite,
Merciful defeat, availless anguish, hunger unendurable!

O who shall be in longing wise,
Skilled in refusal, in embracing free,
Glad with earth's innocent ecstasy,
Yet all the uncomprehended heaven in his eyes!

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