St. Agnes' Eve

by Alfred Tennyson

Original Language English

Deep on the convent-roof the snows
     Are sparkling to the moon:
My breath to heaven like vapour goes:
     May my soul follow soon!
The shadows of the convent-towers
     Slant down the snowy sward,
Still creeping with the creeping hours
     That lead me to my Lord:
Make Thou my spirit pure and clear
     As are the frosty skies,
Or this first snowdrop of the year
     That in my bosom lies.

As these white robes are soil'd and dark,
     To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper's earthly spark,
     To yonder argent round;
So shows my soul before the Lamb,
     My spirit before Thee;
So in mine earthly house I am,
     To that I hope to be.
Break up the heavens, O Lord! and far,
     Thro' all yon starlight keen,
Draw me, thy bride, a glittering star,
     In raiment white and clean.
He lifts me to the golden doors;     
     The flashes come and go;
All heaven bursts her starry floors,
     And strows her lights below,
And deepens on and up! the gates
     Roll back, and far within
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,
     To make me pure of sin.
The sabbaths of Eternity,
     One sabbath deep and wide --
A light upon the shining sea --
     The Bridegroom with his bride!

-- from The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse, Edited by D. H. S. Nicholson / Edited by A. H. E. Lee

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St. Agnes' Eve