Palomide Remembers the Quest: To W. B. Yeats

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Palomide Remembers the Quest: To W. B. Yeats

from: Bon-Accord (P. 13)  September 24, 1903

The chapel bell is beating for the Mass
This midnight of the Vigil, and folk pass
Beneath my window in the narrow street,
I hear the lute-string and the taboring sweet;
And leaning from the casement open wide
See the pale priest, robed, stoled, and lowly-eyed,
And the enraptured acolytes who bear
Tapers whose faint sweet flames consume the air
And mock with holier fire the Paynim stars.
And I alone have neither place nor part
With them that cry, "Lo, there is he whose wars
Are endless as the surge, whose lonely heart
Burns, a dull ember in his mailèd breast,
Lo, Palomide, he of the Hopeless Quest,
A wandering loneliness."

                                             I, Palomide,
Who bear in mine own heart One crucified
Upon the Cross of Time, can bend the knee
Before no shrine of lesser mystery.
Nor do I bow to human love: my lot
Is not to worship, as doth Launcelot,
The proud pale face, the profile like a flower,
Of any Guenevere of an hour,
Or any woman's proud or humble face.

I am the last of my mysterious race,
And when the earth shall gather up these bones,
The last throne falls of many ancient thrones
That were built up with wisdom by a King,
Whose ears had heard the morning planets sing
Priase to the elder gods, upon whose crown
The first pale moons of mystery looked down;
And kings and priests and wise magicians feared
His stony eyes of eld, his misty beard.
And lo, his wisdom and his bones lie hid
In some age-long forgotten pyramid,
Blown over with the dust of many years.

O ye who share the agony and tears
And kiss the five wounds of the Sacrificed,
Leave me to wend upon the Hopeless Quest,
Leave me to follow one less mild than Christ,
I, Palomide, a fire within my breast.