The Prologue of the Unborn:

1.  Into my loneliness comes—

2.  The sound of a flute in dim groves that haunt the uttermost hills.

3.  Even from the brave river they reach to the edge of the wilderness.

4.  And I behold Pan.

5.  The snows are eternal above, above—

6.  And their perfume smokes upward into the nostrils of the stars.

7.  But what have I to do with these?

8.  To me only the distant flute, the abiding vision of Pan.

9.  On all sides Pan to the eye, to the ear;

10.  The perfume of Pan pervading, the taste of him utterly filling my mouth, so that the tongue breaks forth into a weird and monstrous speech.

11.  The embrace of him intense on every centre of pain and pleasure.

12.  The sixth interior sense aflame with the inmost self of Him,

13.  Myself flung down the precipice of being

14.  Even to the abyss, annihilation.

15.  An end to loneliness, as to all.

16.  Pan! Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!

Chapter I:

1.  My God, how I love Thee!

2.  With the vehement appetite of a beast I hunt Thee through the Universe.

3.  Thou art standing as it were upon a pinnacle at the edge of some fortified city. I am a white bird, and perch upon Thee.

4.  Thou art My Lover: I see Thee as a nymph with her white limbs stretched by the spring.

5.  She lies upon the moss; there is none other but she:

6.  Art Thou not Pan?

7.  I am He. Speak not, O my God! Let the work be accomplished in silence.

8.  Let my cry of pain be crystallized into a little white fawn to run away into the forest!

9.  Thou art a centaur, O my God, from the violet-blossoms that crown Thee to the hoofs of the horse.

10.  Thou art harder than tempered steel; there is no diamond beside Thee.

11.  Did I not yield this body and soul?

12.  I woo thee with a dagger drawn across my throat.

13.  Let the spout of blood quench Thy blood-thirst, O my God!

14.  Thou art a little white rabbit in the burrow Night.

15.  I am greater than the fox and the hole.

16.  Give me Thy kisses, O Lord God!

17.  The lightning came and licked up the little flock of sheep.

18.  There is a tongue and a flame; I see that trident walking over the sea.

19.  A phœnix hath it for its head; below are two prongs. They spear the wicked.

20.  I will spear Thee, O Thou little grey god, unless Thou beware!

21.  From the grey to the gold; from the gold to that which is beyond the gold of Ophir.

22.  My God! but I love Thee!

23.  Why hast Thou whispered so ambiguous things? Wast Thou afraid, O goat-hoofed One, O horned One, O pillar of lightning?

24.  From the lightning fall pearls; from the pearls black specks of nothing.

25.  I based all on one, one on naught.26.  Afloat in the æther, O my God, my God!

27.  O Thou great hooded sun of glory, cut off these eyelids!

28.  Nature shall die out; she hideth me, closing mine eyelids with fear, she hideth me from My destruction, O Thou open eye.

29.  O ever-weeping One!

30.  Not Isis my mother, nor Osiris my self; but the incestuous Horus given over to Typhon, so may I be!

31.  There thought; and thought is evil.

32.  Pan! Pan! Io Pan! it is enough.

33.  Fall not into death, O my soul! Think that death is the bed into which you are falling!

34.  O how I love Thee, O my God! Especially is there a vehement parallel light from infinity, vilely diffracted in the haze of this mind.

35.  I love Thee.I love Thee.I love Thee.

36.  Thou art a beautiful thing whiter than a woman in the column of this vibration.

37.  I shoot up vertically like an arrow, and become that Above.

38.  But it is death, and the flame of the pyre.

39.  Ascend in the flame of the pyre, O my soul! Thy God is like the cold emptiness of the utmost heaven, into which thou radiatest thy little light.

40.  When Thou shall know me, O empty God, my flame shall utterly expire in Thy great N. O. X.

41.  What shalt Thou be, my God, when I have ceased to love Thee?

42.  A worm, a nothing, a niddering knave!

43.  But Oh! I love Thee.

44.  I have thrown a million flowers from the basket of the Beyond at Thy feet, I have anointed Thee and Thy Staff with oil and blood and kisses.

45.  I have kindled Thy marble into life— ay! into death.

46.  I have been smitten with the reek of Thy mouth, that drinketh never wine but life.

47.  How the dew of the Universe whitens the lips!

48.  Ah! trickling flow of the stars of the mother Supernal, begone!

49.  I Am She that should come, the Virgin of all men.

50.  I am a boy before Thee, O Thou satyr God.

51.  Thou wilt inflict the punishment of pleasure— Now! Now! Now!

52.  Io Pan! Io Pan! I love Thee. I love Thee.

53.  O my God, spare me!

54.  Now! It is done! Death.

55.  I cried aloud the word— and it was a mighty spell to bind the Invisible, an enchantment to unbind the bound; yea, to unbind the bound.

Chapter II:

1.  O my God! use Thou me again, alway. For ever! For ever!

2.  That which came fire from Thee cometh water from me; let therefore Thy Spirit lay hold on me, so that my right hand loose the lightning.

3.  Travelling through space, I saw the onrush of two galaxies, butting each other and goring like bulls upon earth. I was afraid.

4.  Thus they ceased fight, and turned upon me, and I was sorely crushed and torn.

5.  I had rather have been trampled by the World-Elephant.

6.  O my God! Thou art my little pet tortoise!

7.  Yet Thou sustainest the World-Elephant.

8.  I creep under Thy carapace, like a lover into the bed of his beautiful; I creep in, and sit in Thine heart, as cubby and cosy as may be.

9.  Thou shelterest me, that I hear not the trumpeting of that World-Elephant.

10.  Thou art not worth an obol in the agora; yet Thou art not to be bought at the ransom of the whole Universe.

11.  Thou art like a beautiful Nubian slave leaning her naked purple against the green pillars of marble that are above the bath.

12.  Wine jets from her black nipples.

13.  I drank wine awhile agone in the house of Pertinax. The cup-boy favoured me, and gave me of the right sweet Chian.

14.  There was a Doric boy, skilled in feats of strength, an athlete. The full moon fled away angrily down the wrack.Ah! but we laughed.

15.  I was pernicious drunk, O my God! Yet Pertinax brought me to the bridal.

16.  I had a crown of thorns for all my dower.

17.  Thou art like a goat’s horn from Astor, O Thou God of mine, gnarl’d and crook’d and devilish strong.

18.  Colder than all the ice of all the glaciers of the Naked Mountain was the wine it poured for me.

19.  A wild country and a waning moon.Clouds scudding over the sky. A circuit of pines, and of tall yews beyond. Thou in the midst!

20.  O all ye toads and cats, rejoice! Ye slimy things, come hither!

21.  Dance, dance to the Lord our God!

22.  He is he! He is he! He is he!

23.  Why should I go on?

24.  Why? Why? comes the sudden cackle of a million imps of hell.

25.  And the laughter runs.

26.  But sickens not the Universe; but shakes not the stars.

27.  God! how I love Thee!

28.  I am walking in an asylum; all the men and women about me are insane.

29.  Oh madness! madness! madness! desirable art thou!

30.  But I love Thee, O God!

31.  These men and women rave and howl; they froth out folly.

32.  I begin to be afraid. I have no check; I am alone. Alone. Alone.

33.  Think, O God, how I am happy in Thy love.

34.  O marble Pan! O false leering face! I love Thy dark kisses, bloody and stinking! O marble Pan! Thy kisses are like sunlight on the blue Ægean; their blood is the blood of the sunset over Athens; their stink is like a garden of Roses of Macedonia.

35.  I dreamt of sunset and roses and vines; Thou wast there, O my God, Thou didst habit Thyself as an Athenian courtesan, and I loved Thee.

36.  Thou art no dream, O Thou too beautiful alike for sleep and waking!

37.  I disperse the insane folk of the earth; I walk alone with my little puppets in the garden.

38.  I am Gargantuan great; yon galaxy is but the smoke-ring of mine incense.39.  Burn Thou strange herbs, O God!

40.  Brew me a magic liquor, boys, with your glances!

41.  The very soul is drunken.

42.  Thou art drunken, O my God, upon my kisses.

43.  The Universe reels; Thou hast looked upon it.

44.  Twice, and all is done.

45.  Come, O my God, and let us embrace!

46.  Lazily, hungrily, ardently, patiently; so will I work.

47.  There shall be an End.

48.  O God! O God!

49.  I am a fool to love Thee; Thou art cruel, Thou withholdest Thyself.

50.  Come to me now! I love Thee! I love Thee!

51.  O my darling, my darling— Kiss me! Kiss me! Ah! but again.

52.  Sleep, take me! Death, take me! This life is too full; it pains, it slays, it suffices.

53.  Let me go back into the world; yea, back into the world.

Chapter III:

1.  I was the priest of Ammon-Ra in the temple of Ammon-Ra at Thebai.

2.  But Bacchus came singing with his troops of vine-clad girls, of girls in dark mantles; and Bacchus in the midst like a fawn!

3.  God! how I ran out in my rage and scattered the chorus!

4.  But in my temple stood Bacchus as the priest of Ammon-Ra.

5.  Therefore I went wildly with the girls into Abyssinia; and there we abode and rejoiced.

6.  Exceedingly; yea, in good sooth!

7.  I will eat the ripe and the unripe fruit for the glory of Bacchus.

8.  Terraces of ilex, and tiers of onyx and opal and sardonyx leading up to the cool green porch of malachite.

9.  Within is a crystal shell, shaped like an oyster— O glory of Priapus! O beatitude of the Great Goddess!

10.  Therein is a pearl.

11.  O Pearl! thou hast come from the majesty of dread Ammon-Ra.

12.  Then I the priest beheld a steady glitter in the heart of the pearl.

13.  So bright we could not look! But behold! a blood-red rose upon a rood of glowing gold!

14.  So I adored the God. Bacchus! thou art the lover of my God!

15.  I who was priest of Ammon-Ra, who saw the Nile flow by for many moons, for many, many moons, am the young fawn of the grey land.

16.  I will set up my dance in your conventicles, and my secret loves shall be sweet among you.

17.  Thou shalt have a lover among the lords of the grey land.

18.  This shall he bring unto thee, without which all is in vain; a man’s life spilt for thy love upon Mine Altars.

19.  Amen.

20.  Let it be soon, O God, my God! I ache for Thee, I wander very lonely among the mad folk, in the grey land of desolation.

21.  Thou shalt set up the abominable lonely Thing of wickedness. Oh joy! to lay that corner-stone!

22.  It shall stand erect upon the high mountain; only my God shall commune with it.

23.  I will build it of a single ruby; it shall be seen from afar off.

24.  Come! let us irritate the vessels of the earth: they shall distil strange wine.

25.  It grows under my hand: it shall cover the whole heaven.

26.  Thou art behind me: I scream with a mad joy.

27.  Then said Ithuriel the strong; let Us also worship this invisible marvel!

28.  So did they, and the archangels swept over the heaven.

29.  Strange and mystic, like a yellow priest invoking mighty flights of great grey birds from the North, so do I stand and invoke Thee!

30.  Let them obscure not the sun with their wings and their clamour!

31.  Take away form and its following!

32.  I am still.

33.  Thou art like an osprey among the rice, I am the great red pelican in the sunset waters.

34.  I am like a black eunuch; and Thou art the scimitar. I smite off the head of the light one, the breaker of bread and salt.

35.  Yea! I smite— and the blood makes as it were a sunset on the lapis lazuli of the King’s Bedchamber.

36.  I smite. The whole world is broken up into a mighty wind, and a voice cries aloud in a tongue that men cannot speak.

37.  I know that awful sound of primal joy; let us follow on the wings of the gale even unto the holy house of Hathor; let us offer the five jewels of the cow upon her altar!

38.  Again the inhuman voice!

39.  I rear my Titan bulk into the teeth of the gale, and I smite and prevail, and swing me out over the sea.

40.  There is a strange pale God, a god of pain and deadly wickedness.

41.  My own soul bites into itself, like a scorpion ringed with fire.

42.  That pallid God with face averted, that God of subtlety and laughter, that young Doric God, him will I serve.

43.  For the end thereof is torment unspeakable.

44.  Better the loneliness of the great grey sea!

45.  But ill befall the folk of the grey land, my God!

46.  Let me smother them with my roses!

47.  Oh Thou delicious God, smile sinister!

48.  I pluck Thee, O my God, like a purple plum upon a sunny tree. How Thou dost melt in my mouth, Thou consecrated sugar of the Stars!

49.  The world is all grey before mine eyes; it is like an old worn wine-skin.

50.  All the wine of it is on these lips.

51.  Thou hast begotten me upon a marble Statue, O my God!

52.  The body is icy cold with the coldness of a million moons; it is harder than the adamant of eternity. How shall I come forth into the light?

53.  Thou art He, O God! O my darling! my child! my plaything! Thou art like a cluster of maidens, like a multitude of swans upon the lake.

54.  I feel the essence of softness.

55.  I am hard and strong and male; but come Thou! I shall be soft and weak and feminine.

56.  Thou shalt crush me in the wine-press of Thy love. My blood shall stain Thy fiery feet with litanies of Love in Anguish.

57.  There shall be a new flower in the fields, a new vintage in the vineyards.

58.  The bees shall gather a new honey; the poets shall sing a new song.

59.  I shall gain the Pain of the Goat for my prize; and the God that sitteth upon the shoulders of Time shall drowse.

60.  Then shall all this which is written be accomplished: yea, it shall be accomplished.

Chapter IV:

1.  I am like a maiden bathing in a clear pool of fresh water.

2.  O my God! I see Thee dark and desirable, rising through the water as a golden smoke.

3.  Thou art altogether golden, the hair and the eyebrows and the brilliant face; even into the finger-tips and toe-tips Thou art one rosy dream of gold.

4.  Deep into Thine eyes that are golden my soul leaps, like an archangel menacing the sun.

5.  My sword passes through and through Thee; crystalline moons ooze out of Thy beautiful body that is hidden behind the ovals of Thine eyes.

6.  Deeper, ever deeper. I fall, even as the whole Universe falls down the abyss of Years.

7.  For Eternity calls; the Overworld calls; the world of the Word is awaiting us.

8.  Be done with speech, O God! Fasten the fangs of the hound Eternity in this my throat!

9.  I am like a wounded bird flapping in circles.

10.  Who knows where I shall fall?

11.  O blesséd One! O God! O my devourer!

12.  Let me fall, fall down, fall away, afar, alone!

13.  Let me fall!

14.  Nor is there any rest, Sweet Heart, save in the cradle of royal Bacchus, the thigh of the most Holy One.

15.  There rest, under the canopy of night.

16.  Uranus chid Eros; Marsyas chid Olympas; I chid my beautiful lover with his sunray mane; shall I not sing?

17.  Shall not mine incantations bring around me the wonderful company of the wood-gods, their bodies glistening with the ointment of moonlight and honey and myrrh?

18.  Worshipful are ye, O my lovers; let us forward to the dimmest hollow!

19.  There we will feast upon mandrake and upon moly!

20.  There the lovely One shall spread us His holy banquet. In the brown cakes of corn we shall taste the food of the world, and be strong.

21.   In the ruddy and awful cup of death we shall drink the blood of the world, and be drunken!

22.  Ohé! the song to Iao, the song to Iao!

23.  Come, let us sing to thee, Iacchus invisible, Iacchus triumphant, Iacchus indicible!

24.  Iacchus, O Iacchus, O Iacchus, be near us!

25.  Then was the countenance of all time darkened, and the true light shone forth.

26.  There was also a certain cry in an unknown tongue, whose stridency troubled the still waters of my soul, so that my mind and my body were healed of their disease, self-knowledge.

27.  Yea, an angel troubled the waters.

28.  This was the cry of Him: IIIOOShBTh-IO-IIIIAMAMThIBI-II.

29.  Nor did I sing this for a thousand times a night for a thousand nights before Thou camest, O my flaming God, and pierced me with Thy spear. Thy scarlet robe unfolded the whole heavens, so that the Gods said: All is burning: it is the end.

30.  Also Thou didst set Thy lips to the wound and suck out a million eggs. And Thy mother sat upon them, and lo! stars and stars and ultimate Things whereof stars are the atoms.

31.  Then I perceived Thee, O my God, sitting like a white cat upon the trellis-work of the arbour; and the hum of the spinning worlds was but Thy pleasure.

32.  O white cat, the sparks fly from Thy fur! Thou dost crackle with splitting the worlds.

33.  I have seen more of Thee in the white cat than I saw in the Vision of Æons.

34.  In the boat of Ra did I travel, but I never found upon the visible Universe any being like unto Thee!

35.  Thou wast like a winged white horse, and I raced Thee through eternity against the Lord of the Gods.

36.  So still we race!

37.  Thou wast like a flake of snow falling in the pine-clad woods.

38.  In a moment Thou wast lost in a wilderness of the like and the unlike.

39.  But I beheld the beautiful God at the back of the blizzard— and Thou wast He!

40.  Also I read in a great Book.

41.  On ancient skin was written in letters of gold: Verbum fit Verbum.

42.  Also Vitriol and the hierophant’s name V.V.V.V.V.

43.  All this wheeled in fire, in star-fire, rare and far and utterly lonely— even as Thou and I, O desolate soul my God!

44.  Yea, and the writing It is well.This is the voice which shook the earth.

45.  Eight times he cried aloud, and by eight and by eight shall I count Thy favours, Oh Thou Elevenfold God 418!

46.  Yea, and by many more; by the ten in the twenty-two directions; even as the perpendicular of the Pyramid— so shall Thy favours be.

47.  If I number them, they are One.

48.  Excellent is Thy love, Oh Lord! Thou art revealed by the darkness, and he who gropeth in the horror of the groves shall haply catch Thee, even as a snake that seizeth on a little singing-bird.

49.  I have caught Thee, O my soft thrush; I am like a hawk of mother-of-emerald; I catch Thee by instinct, though my eyes fail from Thy glory.

50.  Yet they are but foolish folk yonder. I see them on the yellow sand, all clad in Tyrian purple.

51.  They draw their shining God unto the land in nets; they build a fire to the Lord of Fire, and cry unhallowed words, even the dreadful curse Amri maratza, maratza, atman deona lastadza maratza maritza— marán!

52.  Then do they cook the shining god, and gulp him whole.

53.  These are evil folk, O beautiful boy! let us pass on to the Otherworld.

54.  Let us make ourselves into a pleasant bait, into a seductive shape!

55.  I will be like a splendid naked woman with ivory breasts and golden nipples; my whole body shall be like the milk of the stars. I will be lustrous and Greek, a courtesan of Delos, of the unstable Isle.

56.  Thou shalt be like a little red worm on a hook.

57.  But thou and I will catch our fish alike.

58.  Then wilt thou be a shining fish with golden back and silver belly: I will be like a violent beautiful man, stronger than two score bulls, a man of the West bearing a great sack of precious jewels upon a staff that is greater than the axis of the all.

59.  And the fish shall be sacrificed to Thee and the strong man crucified for Me, and Thou and I will kiss, and atone for the wrong of the Beginning; yea, for the wrong of the beginning.