The Jewes their beds, and offices of ease,
Plac’t North and South, for these cleane purposes;
That mans uncomely froth might not molest
Gods wayes and walks, which lie still East and West.


FROM holy to unhallowed scene
(Such alternation is our lot)
From cleanly straightway to unclean
A tincture never quite forgot.
From duty well or badly kept
Straightway to bed; but should a trace
Hint that we loved before we slept
We quickly turn aside the face.
The madman desecrates the Host.
And yet there’s not a voice we hear,
No, not the pang that moves us most
To make our muddied lives run clear,
But through the body it will dart
Taking the flesh for sounding-board.
The plaited thorns would pierce no heart
Pierced they not too the sensual cord.
While flesh is flesh and through it stalk
Those unperturbed familiar beasts
That thrust their heads up in our talk
And slaver at our gravest feasts
No art that we can lightly find
Will cure the guilt they make us feel.
The ancestral schism of the mind
Pursues us like a dog at heel.
Yet say that love refused to take
The luxury before it thrown,
Or would not lash itself to break
Storm-like upon its longed-for zone,
Then how of all that we think good
Might the least spray put forth its flower?
Dead spring can leaf no waiting wood.
The withered womb starves every power.
I do not shame, remembering this,
To think how green tides gulped the land
With an insatiable kiss,
And left their dried foam on the sand.