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The blessed damozel leaned out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary's gift,
For service meetly worn;
Her hair that lay along her back
Was yellow like ripe corn.

Herseemed she scarce had been a day
One of God's choristers;
The wonder was not yet quite gone
From that still look of hers;
Albeit, to them she left, her day
Had counted as ten years.

(To one, it is ten years of years.
  . . . Yet now, and in this place,
Surely she leaned o'er me — her hair
Fell all about my face. . . .
Nothing: the autumn-fall of leaves.
The whole year sets apace.)

It was the rampart of God's house
That she was standing on;
By God built over the sheer depth
The which is Space begun;
So high, that looking downward thence
She scarce could see the sun.

It lies in Heaven, across the flood
Of ether, as a bridge.
Beneath, the tides of day and night
With flame and darkness ridge
The void, as low as where this earth
Spins like a fretful midge.

Around her, lovers, newly met
'Mid deathless love's acclaims,
Spoke evermore among themselves
Their heart-remembered names;
And the souls mounting up to God
Went by her like thin flames.

And still she bowed herself and stooped
Out of the circling charm;
Until her bosom must have made
The bar she leaned on warm,
And the lilies lay as if asleep
Along her bended arm.

From the fixed place of Heaven she saw
Time like a pulse shake fierce
Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove
Within the gulf to pierce
Its path; and now she spoke as when
The stars sang in their spheres.

The sun was gone now; the curled moon
Was like a little feather
Fluttering far down the gulf; and now
She spoke through the still weather.
Her voice was like the voice of the stars
Had when they sang together.

(Ah sweet! Even now, in that bird's song,
Strove not her accents there,
Fain to be hearkened? When those bells
Possessed the mid-day air,
Strove not her steps to reach my side
Down all the echoing stair?)

'I wish that he were come to me,
For he will come,' she said.
'Have I not preyed in Heaven? -- on earth,
Lord, Lord, has he not pray'd?
Are not two prayers a perfect strength?
And shall I feel afraid?

'When round his head the aureole clings,
And he is clothed in white,
I'll take his hand and go with him
To the deep wells of light;
As unto a stream we will step down,
And bathe there in God's sight.

'We two will stand beside that shrine,
Occult, withheld, untrod,
Whose lamps are stirred continually
With prayer sent up to God;
And see our old prayers, granted, melt
Each like a little cloud.

'We two will lie i' the shadow of
That living mystic tree
Within whose secret growth the Dove
Is sometimes felt to be,
While every leaf that His plumes touch
Saith His Name audibly.

'And I myself will teach to him,
I myself, lying so,
The songs I sing here; which his voice
Shall pause in, hushed and slow,
And find some knowledge at each pause,
Or some new thing to know.'

(Alas! We two, we two, thou say'st!
Yea, one wast thou with me
That once of old. But shall God lift
To endless unity
The soul whose likeness with thy soul
Was but its love for thee?)

'We two,' she said, 'will seek the groves
Where the lady Mary is,
With her five handmaidens, whose names
Are five sweet symphonies,
Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
Margaret and Rosalys.

'Circlewise sit they, with bound locks
And foreheads garlanded;
Into the fine cloth white like flame
Weaving the golden thread,
To fashion the birth-robes for them
Who are just born, being dead.

'He shall fear, haply, and be dumb:
Then will I lay my cheek
To his, and tell about our love,
Not once abashed or weak:
And the dear Mother will approve
My pride, and let me speak.

'Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,
To him round whom all souls
Kneel, the clear-ranged unnumbered heads
Bowed with their aureoles:
And angels meeting us shall sing
To their citherns and citoles.

'There will I ask of Christ the Lord
Thus much for him and me: —
Only to live as once on earth
With Love, — only to be,
As then awhile, for ever now
Together, I and he.'

She gazed and listened and then said,
Less sad of speech than mild, —
'All this is when he comes.' She ceased.
The light thrilled towards her, fill'd
With angels in strong level flight.
Her eyes prayed, and she smil'd.

(I saw her smile.) But soon their path
Was vague in distant spheres:
And then she cast her arms along
The golden barriers,
And laid her face between her hands,
And wept. (I heard her tears.)

(Dante Gabriel Rossetti)
La damoiselle élue s'appuyait
Sur la barrière d'or du Ciel,
Ses yeux étaient plus profonds que l'abîme
Des eaux calmes au soir.
Elle avait trois lys à la main
Et sept étoiles dans les cheveux.

Sa robe flottante
N'était point ornée de fleurs brodées,
Mais d'une rose blanche, présent de Marie,
Pour le divin service justement portée ;
Ses cheveux qui tombaient le long de ses épaules
Étaient jaunes comme le blé mûr.

Autour d'elle des amants
Nouvellement réunis,
Répétaient pour toujours, entre eux,
leurs nouveaux noms d'extase ;
Et les âmes, qui montaient à Dieu,
Passaient près d'elle comme de fines flammes.

Alors, elle s'inclina de nouveau et se pencha
En dehors du charme encerclant,
Jusqu'à ce que son sein eut échauffé
La barrière sur laquelle elle s'appuyait,
Et que les lys gisent comme endormis
Le long de son bras courbé.

Le soleil avait disparu, la lune annelée
Était comme une petite plume
Flottant au loin dans l'espace ; et voilà
Qu'elle parla à travers l'air calme,
Sa voix était pareille à celle des étoiles
Lorsqu'elles chantent en chœur.

Je voudrais qu'il fût déjà près de moi,
Car il viendra.
N'ai-je pas prié dans le ciel ? Sur terre,
Seigneur, Seigneur, n'a-t-il pas prié,
Deux prières ne sont-elles pas une force parfaite?
Et pourquoi m'effraierais-je ?

Lorsqu'autour de sa tête s'attachera l'auréole,
Et qu'il aura revêtu sa robe blanche,
Je le prendrai par la main et j'irai avec lui
Aux sources de lumière,
Nous y entrerons comme dans un courant,
Et nous nous y baignerons à la face de Dieu.

Nous nous reposerons tous deux à l'ombre
De ce vivant et mystique arbre,
Dans le feuillage secret duquel on sent parfois
La présence de la colombe,
Pendant que chaque feuille, touchée par ses plumes,
Dit son nom distinctement.

Tous deux nous chercherons les bosquets
Où trône Dame Marie
Avec ses cinq servantes, dont les noms
Sont cinq douces symphonies :
Cécile, Blanchelys, Madeleine,
Marguerite et Roselys.

Il craindra peut-être, et restera muet,
Alors, je poserai ma joue
Contre la sienne ; et lui parlerai de notre amour,
Sans confusion ni faiblesse,
Et la chère Mère approuvera
Mon orgueil, et me laissera parler.

Elle-même nous amènera la main dans la main
À Celui autour duquel toutes les âmes
S'agenouillent, les innombrables têtes clair rangées
Inclinées, avec leurs auréoles.
Et les anges venus à notre rencontre chanteront,
S'accompagnant de leurs guitares et de leurs citoles.

Alors, je demanderai au Christ Notre Seigneur,
Cette grande faveur, pour lui et moi,
Seulement de vivre comme autrefois sur terre
Dans l'amour, et d'être pour toujours,
Comme alors pour un temps,
Ensemble, moi et lui.

Elle regarda, prêta l'oreille et dit,
D'une voix moins triste que douce :
Tout ceci sera quand il viendra. Elle se tut.
La lumière tressaillit de son côte, remplie
D'un fort vol d'anges horizontal.
Ses yeux prièrent, elle sourit ;

Mais bientôt leur sentier
Devint vague dans les sphères distantes.
Alors, elle jeta ses bras le long
Des barrières d'or.
Et posant son visage entre ses mains,
Pleura. Ah, ah.

(traduit par Gabriel Sarrazin)

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