by: Robert Buchanan (1841-1901)

      HE MASTER said:
      ‘I have planted the Seed of a Tree,
      It shall be strangely fed
      With white dew and with red,
      And the Gardeners shall be three--
      Regret, Hope, Memory!’
      The Master smiled:
      For the Seed that He had set
      Broke presently thro’ the mould,
      With a glimmer of green and gold,
      And the Angels’ eyes were wet--
      Hope, Memory, Regret.
      The Master cried:
      ‘It liveth--breatheth--see!
      Its soft lips open wide--
      It looks from side to side--
      How strange they gleam on me,
      The little dim eyes of the Tree!’
      The Master said:
      ‘After a million years,
      The Seed I set and fed
      To itself hath gatherèd
      All the world’s smiles and tears--
      How mighty it appears!’
      The Master said:
      ‘At last, at last, I see
      A Blossom, a Blossom o’ red
      From the heart of the Tree is shed.
      ’Tis fairer certainly
      Than the Tree, or the leaves of the Tree.'
      The Master cried:
      ‘O Angels, that guard the Tree,
      A Blossom, a Blossom divine
      Grows on this greenwood of mine:
      What may this Blossom be?
      Name this Blossom to me!’
      The Master smiled;
      For the Angels answered thus:
      ‘Our tears have nourish’d the same,
      We have given it a name
      That seemeth fit to us--
      We have called it Spiritus.’
      The Master said:
      ‘This Flower no Seed shall bear;
      But hither on a day
      My beautiful Son shall stray,
      And shall snatch it unaware,
      And wreath it in his hair.’
      The Master smiled:
      ‘The Tree shall never bear--
      Seedless shall perish the Tree,
      But the Flower my Son’s shall be;
      He will pluck the Flower and wear,
      Till it withers in his hair!’

"The Tree of Life" is reprinted from The Oxford book of English mystical verse. Ed. D.H.S. Nicholson. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1917.




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