Aleister Crowley |
" 10, 1911.
Full moon to-night; and six and twenty years
Since my full moon first broke from angel spheres!
A year of infinite love unwearying ---
No circling seasons, but perennial spring!
A year of triumph trampling through defeat,
The first made holy and the last made sweet
By this same love; a year of wealth and woe,
Joy, poverty, health, sickness --- all one glow
In the pure light that filled our firmament
Of supreme silence and unbarred extent,
Wherein one sacrament was ours, one Lord,
One resurrection, one recurrent chord,
One incarnation, one descending dove,
All these being one, and that one being Love!
You sent your spirit into tunes; my soul
Yearned in a thousand melodies to enscroll
Its happiness: I left no flower unplucked
That might have graced your garland.
Tragedy, comedy, farce, fable, song,
Each longing a little, each a little long,
But each aspiring only to express
Your excellence and my unworthiness ---
Nay! but my worthiness, since I was sense
And spirit too of that same excellence.
So thus we solved the earth's revolving riddle:
I could write verse, and you could play the fiddle,
While, as for love, the sun went through the signs,
And not a star but told him how love twines
A wreath for every decanate, degree,
Minute and second, linked eternally
In chains of flowers that never fading are,
Each one as sempiternal as a star.
Let me go back to your last birthday.
I was already your one man of men
Appointed to complete you, and fulfil
From everlasting the eternal will.
We lay within the flood of crimson light
In my own balcony that August night,
And conjuring the aright and the averse
Created yet another universe.
We worked together; dance and rite and spell
Arousing heaven and constraining hell.
We lived together; every hour of rest
Was honied from your tiger-lily breast.
We --- oh what lingering doubt or fear betrayed
My life to fate! --- we parted.
Was I afraid?
I was afraid, afraid to live my love,
Afraid you played the serpent, I the dove,
Afraid of what I know not.
I am glad
Of all the shame and wretchedness I had,
Since those six weeks have taught me not to doubt you,
And also that I cannot live without you.
Then I came back to you; black treasons rear
Their heads, blind hates, deaf agonies of fear,
Cruelty, cowardice, falsehood, broken pledges,
The temple soiled with senseless sacrileges,
Sickness and poverty, a thousand evils,
Concerted malice of a million devils; ---
You never swerved; your high-pooped galleon
Went marvellously, majestically on
Full-sailed, while every other braver bark
Drove on the rocks, or foundered in the dark.
Then Easter, and the days of all delight!
God's sun lit noontide and his moon midnight,
While above all, true centre of our world,
True source of light, our great love passion-pearled
Gave all its life and splendour to the sea
Above whose tides stood our stability.
Then sudden and fierce, no monitory moan,
Smote the mad mischief of the great cyclone.
How far below us all its fury rolled!
How vainly sulphur tries to tarnish gold!
We lived together: all its malice meant
Nothing but freedom of a continent!
It was the forest and the river that knew
The fact that one and one do not make two.
We worked, we walked, we slept, we were at ease,
We cried, we quarrelled; all the rocks and trees
For twenty miles could tell how lovers played,
And we could count a kiss for every glade.
Worry, starvation, illness and distress?
Each moment was a mine of happiness.
Then we grew tired of being country mice,
Came up to Paris, lived our sacrifice
There, giving holy berries to the moon,
July's thanksgiving for the joys of June.
And you are gone away --- and how shall I
Make August sing the raptures of July?
And you are gone away --- what evil star
Makes you so competent and popular?
How have I raised this harpy-hag of Hell's
Malice --- that you are wanted somewhere else?
I wish you were like me a man forbid,
Banned, outcast, nice society well rid
Of the pair of us --- then who would interfere
With us? --- my darling, you would now be here!
But no! we must fight on, win through, succeed,
Earn the grudged praise that never comes to meed,
Lash dogs to kennel, trample snakes, put bit
In the mule-mouths that have such need of it,
Until the world there's so much to forgive in
Becomes a little possible to live in.
God alone knows if battle or surrender
Be the true courage; either has its splendour.
But since we chose the first, God aid the right,
And damn me if I fail you in the fight!
God join again the ways that lie apart,
And bless the love of loyal heart to heart!
God keep us every hour in every thought,
And bring the vessel of our love to port!
These are my birthday wishes.
Dawn's at hand,
And you're an exile in a lonely land.
But what were magic if it could not give
My thought enough vitality to live?
Do not then dream this night has been a loss!
All night I have hung, a god, upon the cross;
All night I have offered incense at the shrine;
All night you have been unutterably mine,
Miner in the memory of the first wild hour
When my rough grasp tore the unwilling flower
From your closed garden, mine in every mood,
In every tense, in every attitude,
In every possibility, still mine
While the sun's pomp and pageant, sign to sign,
Stately proceeded, mine not only so
In the glamour of memory and austral glow
Of ardour, but by image of my brow
Stronger than sense, you are even here and now
Miner, utterly mine, my sister and my wife,
Mother of my children, mistress of my life!
O wild swan winging through the morning mist!
The thousand thousand kisses that we kissed,
The infinite device our love devised
If by some chance its truth might be surprised,
Are these all past? Are these to come? Believe me,
There is no parting; they can never leave me.
I have built you up into my heart and brain
So fast that we can never part again.
Why should I sing you these fantastic psalms
When all the time I have you in my arms?
Why? 'tis the murmur of our love that swells
Earth's dithyrambs and ocean's oracles.
But this is dawn; my soul shall make its nest
Where your sighs swing from rapture into rest
Love's thurible, your tiger-lily breast.
Aleister Crowley |
[Dedicated to Austin Osman Spare]
Have pity ! show no pity !
Those eyes that send such shivers
Into my brain and spine : oh let them
Flame like the ancient city
Swallowed up by the sulphurous rivers
When men let angels fret them !
Yea ! let the south wind blow,
And the Turkish banner advance,
And the word go out : No quarter !
But I shall hod thee -so !
While the boys and maidens dance
About the shambles of slaughter !
I know thee who thou art,
The inmost fiend that curlest
Thy vampire tounge about
Earth's corybantic heart,
Hell's warrior that whirlest
The darts of horror and doubt !
Thou knowest me who I am
The inmost soul and saviour
Of man ; what hieroglyph
Of the dragon and the lamb
Shall thou and I engrave here
On Time's inscandescable cliff ?
Look ! in the plished granite,
Black as thy cartouche is with sins,
I read the searing sentence
That blasts the eyes that scan it :
"HOOR and SET be TWINS.
A fico for repentance !
Ay ! O Son of my mother
That snarled and clawed in her womb
As now we rave in our rapture,
I know thee, I love thee, brother !
Incestuous males that consumes
The light and the life that we capture.
Starve thou the soul of the world,
Brother, as I the body !
Shall we not glut our lust
On these wretches whom Fate hath hurled
To a hell of jesus and shoddy,
Dung and ethics and dust ?
Thou as I art Fate.
Coe then, conquer and kiss me !
Come ! what hinders? Believe me :
This is the thought we await.
The mark is fair ; can you miss me ?
See, how subtly I writhe !
Strange runes and unknown sigils
I trace in the trance that thrills us.
Death ! how lithe, how blithe
Are these male incestuous vigils !
Ah ! this is the spasm that kills us !
Wherefore I solemnly affirm
This twofold Oneness at the term.
Asar on Asi did beget
Horus twin brother unto Set.
Now Set and Horus kiss, to call
The Soul of the Unnatural
Forth from the dusk ; then nature slain
Lets the Beyond be born again.
This weird is of the tongue of Khem,
The Conjuration used of them.
Whoso shall speak it, let him die,
His bowels rotting inwardly,
Save he uncover and caress
The God that lighteth his liesse.
Aleister Crowley |
The cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam.
The vault yet blazes with the sun
Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome
Whose gladiators shock and shun
As the blue night devours them, crested comb
Of sleep's dead sea
That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity!
So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame
Into my bowels; my blood's bewitched;
My brain's afloat with ecstasy of shame.
That tearing pain is gone, enriched
By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same
Myself is gone
Sucked by the dragon down below death's horizon.
I woke from this.
I lay upon the lawn;
They had thrown roses on the moss
With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn,
My lord and I; God sailed across
The sky in's galleon of amber, drawn
By singing winds
While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.
All day my lover deigned to murder me,
Linking his kisses in a chain
About my neck; demon-embroidery!
Bruises like far-ff mountains stain
The valley of my body of ivory!
Then last came sleep.
I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep?
Nay, for I wept enough --- more sacred tears! ---
When first he pinned me, gripped
My flesh, and as a stallion that rears,
Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped;
Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears;
Sucked out my life
And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of
I will not weep; nay, I will follow him
Perchance he is not far,
Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim
Depth, where the evening star
May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky's rim
He makes his prayer
To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.
I rose to seek him.
First my footsteps faint
Pressed the starred moss; but soon
I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint,
Into the wood, my mind.
Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint
Hardly one ray
Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.
I wandered, crying on my Lord.
Eagerly seeking everywhere.
The stories of life that on my lips he squandered
Grew into shrill cries of despair,
Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered
Fled into space ---
Like to a demon-king's was grown my maiden face!
At last I came unto the well, my soul
In that still glass, I saw no sign
Of him, and yet --- what visions there uproll
To cloud that mirror-soul of mine?
Above my head there screams a flying scroll
Whose word burnt through
My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.
For in that scroll was written how the globe
Of space became; of how the light
Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe
Of glory; of how One most white
Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe
Of his right Ear,
So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.
Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell,
An incantation, a device
Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible
Wakes from its wilderness of ice
To flame, whereby the very core of hell
Bursts from its rind,
Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.
So then I saw my fault; I plunged within
The well, and brake the images
That I had made, as I must make - Men spin
The webs that snare them - while the knee
Bend to the tyrant God - or unto Sin
The lecher sunder!
Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under?
It matters not.
Come, change! come, Woe! Come, mask!
Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep!
In vain we labour at the loathsome task
Not knowing if we wake or sleep;
But in the end we lift the plumed casque
Of the dead warrior;
Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.
Then I returned into myself, and took
All in my arms, God's universe:
Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook
His dumbness pregnant with a curse.
I made me ink, and in a little book
I wrote one word
That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.
Nature, God, mankind
Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once
Blended, in one annihilation blind
Were rent into a myriad of suns.
Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind
Stood in the abyss,
Belching a Law for "That" more awful than for "This.
Vain was the toil.
So then I left the wood
And came unto the still black sea,
That oily monster of beatitude!
('Hath "Thee" for "Me," and "Me" for "Thee!")
There as I stood, a mask of solitude
Hiding a face
Wried as a satyr's, rolled that ocean into space.
Then did I build an altar on the shore
Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round
Thither a green flame I bore
Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground
With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core
Was trembling steel
Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.
With that a goat came running from the cave
That lurked below the tall white cliff.
Thy name! cried I.
The answer that gave
Was but one tempest-whisper - "If!"
Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave;
For on soul's curtain
Is written this one certainty that naught is certain!
So then I caught that goat up in a kiss.
And cried Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!
Then all this body's wealth of ambergris,
(Narcissus-scented flesh of man!)
I burnt before him in the sacrifice;
For he was sure -
Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure!
Wherefore, when madness took him at the end,
He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt;
And that which inward did for ever tend
Came at the last to have come out;
And I who had the World and God to friend
Found all three foes!
Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes!
Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein;
So they were not, and it was not.
As who should sweat his soul out through the skin
And find (sad fool!) he had begot
All that without him that he had left in,
And in himself
All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf!
But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared.
Him then I strove to woo, to win,
Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard,
Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin,
By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird
That only I
Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.
So still I conquered, and the vision passed.
Yet still was beaten, for I knew
Myself was He, Himself, the first and last;
And as an unicorn drinks dew
From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast
Into the mire;
For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.
More; in this journey I had clean forgotten
The quest, my lover.
But the tomb
Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten,
Proved in the end to be my womb
Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten
A little child
To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild!
This child hath not one hair upon his head,
But he hath wings instead of ears.
No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed
Within him on the ordered sphere
Of nature that he hideth; and in stead
Of mouth he hath
One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path!
Also his nostrils are shut up; for he
Hath not the need of any breath;
Nor can the curtain of eternity
Cover that head with life or death.
So all his body, a slim almond-tree,
Knoweth no bough
Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.
This thought I bred within my bowels, I am.
I am in him, as he in me;
And like a satyr ravishing a lamb
So either seems, or as the sea
Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram
Beats its own head
Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.
Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn!
Pile me the roses and the thorns,
Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn!
He may return.
A million morns
May follow that first dire daemonic dawn
When he did split
My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it!
So I am stretched out naked to the knife,
My whole soul twitching with the stress
Of the expected yet surprising strife,
A martyrdom of blessedness.
Though Death came, I could kiss him into life;
Though Life came, I
Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die!
Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam,
Am also none of these at all;
For now that cosmic chaos of I AM
Bursts like a bubble.
The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame
To be a sign to them who yet have never been.
The universe I measured with my rod.
The blacks were balanced with the whites;
Satan dropped down even as up soared God;
Whores prayed and danced with anchorites.
So in my book the even matched the odd:
No word I wrote
Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.
This also I seal up.
Read thou herein
Whose eyes are blind! Thou may'st behold
Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin
All ways) a point of static gold.
Then may'st thou out therewith, and fit it in
That extreme spher
Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near.
Aleister Crowley |
[Dedicated to General J.
Velvet soft the night-star glowed
Over the untrodden road,
Through the giant glades of yew
Where its ray fell light as dew
Lighting up the shimmering veil
Maiden pure and aery frail
That the spiders wove to hide
Blushes of the sylvan bride
Earth, that trembled with delight
At the male caress of Night.
Velvet soft the wizard trod
To the Sabbath of his God.
With his naked feet he made
Starry blossoms in the glade,
Softly, softly, as he went
To the sombre sacrament,
Stealthy stepping to the tryst
In his gown of amethyst.
Earlier yet his soul had come
To the Hill of Martyrdom,
Where the charred and crooked stake
Like a black envenomed snake
By the hangman's hands is thrust
Through the wet and writhing dust,
Never black and never dried
Heart's blood of a suicide.
He had plucked the hazel rod
From the rude and goatish god,
Even as the curved moon's waning ray
Stolen from the King of Day.
He had learnt the elvish sign;
Given the Token of the Nine:
Once to rave, and once to revel,
Once to bow before the devil,
Once to swing the thurible,
Once to kiss the goat of hell,
Once to dance the aspen spring,
Once to croak, and once to sing,
Once to oil the savoury thighs
Of the witch with sea-green eyes
With the unguents magical.
Oh the honey and the gall
Of that black enchanter's lips
As he croons to the eclipse
Mingling that most puissant spell
Of the giant gods of hell
With the four ingredients
Of the evil elements;
Ambergris from golden spar,
Musk of ox from Mongol jar,
Civet from a box of jade,
Mixed with fat of many a maid
Slain by the inchauntments cold
Of the witches wild and old.
He had crucified a toad
In the basilisk abode,
Muttering the Runes averse
Mad with many a mocking curse.
He had traced the serpent sigil
In his ghastly virgin vigil.
Sursum cor! the elfin hill,
Where the wind blows deadly chill
From the world that wails beneath
Death's black throat and lipless teeth.
There he had stood - his bosom bare -
Tracing Life upon the Air
With the crook and with the flail
Lashing forward on the gale,
Till its blade that wavereth
Like the flickering of Death
Sank before his subtle fence
To the starless sea of sense.
Now at last the man is come
Haply to his halidom.
Surely as he waves his rod
In a circle on the sod
Springs the emerald chaste and clean
From the duller paler green.
Surely in the circle millions
Of immaculate pavilions
Flash upon the trembling turf
Like the sea-stars in the surf -
Millions of bejewelled tents
For the warrior sacraments.
Vaster, vaster, vaster, vaster,
Grows the stature of the master;
All the ringed encampment vies
With the infinite galaxies.
In the midst a cubic stone
With the Devil set thereon;
Hath a lamb's virginal throat;
Hath the body of a stoat;
Hath the buttocks of a goat;
Hath the sanguine face and rod
Of a goddess and a god!
Spell by spell and pace by pace!
Mystic flashes swing and trace
Velvet soft the sigils stepped
By the silver-starred adept.
Back and front, and to and fro,
Soul and body sway and flow
In vertiginous caresses
To imponderable recesses,
Till at last the spell is woven,
And the faery veil is cloven
That was Sequence, Space, and Stress
Of the soul-sick consciousness.
"Give thy body to the beasts!
Give thy spirit to the priests!
Break in twain the hazel rod
On the virgin lips of God!
Tear the Rosy Cross asunder!
Shatter the black bolt of thunder!
Suck the swart ensanguine kiss
Of the resolute abyss!"
Wonder-weft the wizard heard
This intolerable word.
Smote the blasting hazel rod
On the scarlet lips of God;
Trampled Cross and rosy core;
Brake the thunder-tool of Thor;
Meek and holy acolyte
Of the priestly hells of spite,
Sleek and shameless catamite
Of the beasts that prowl the night!
Like a star that streams from heaven
Through the virgin airs light-riven,
From the lift there shot and fell
An admirable miracle.
Carved minute and clean, a key
Of purest lapis-lazuli
More blue than the blind sky that aches
(Wreathed with the stars, her torturing snakes),
For the dead god's kiss that never wakes;
Shot with golden specks of fire
Like a virgin with desire.
Look, the levers! fern-frail fronds
Of fantastic diamonds,
Glimmering with ethereal azure
In each exquisite embrasure.
On the shaft the letters laced,
As if dryads lunar-chaste
With the satyrs were embraced,
Spelled the secret of the key:
Went his wizard way, inweaving
Dreams of things beyond believing.
When he will, the weary world
Of the senses closely curled
Like a serpent round his heart
Shakes herself and stands apart.
So the heart's blood flames, expanding,
Strenuous, urgent, and commanding;
And the key unlocks the door
Where his love lives evermore.
She is of the faery blood;
All smaragdine flows its flood.
Glowing in the amber sky
To ensorcelled porphyry
She hath eyes of glittering flake
Like a cold grey water-snake.
She hath naked breasts of amber
Jetting wine in her bed-chamber,
Whereof whoso stoops and drinks
Rees the riddle of the Sphinx.
She hath naked limbs of amber
Whereupon her children clamber.
She hath five navels rosy-red
From the five wounds of God that bled;
Each wound that mothered her still bleeding,
And on that blood her babes are feeding.
Oh! like a rose-winged pelican
She hath bred blessed babes to Pan!
Oh! like a lion-hued nightingale
She hath torn her breast on thorns to avail
The barren rose-tree to renew
Her life with that disastrous dew,
Building the rose o' the world alight
With music out of the pale moonlight!
O She is like the river of blood
That broke from the lips of the bastard god,
When he saw the sacred mother smile
On the ibis that flew up the foam of Nile
Bearing the limbs unblessed, unborn,
That the lurking beast of Nile had torn!
So (for the world is weary) I
These dreadful souls of sense lay by.
I sacrifice these impure shoon
To the cold ray of the waning moon.
I take the forked hazel staff,
And the rose of no terrene graff,
And the lamp of no olive oil
With heart's blood that alone may boil.
With naked breast and feet unshod
I follow the wizard way to God.
Wherever he leads my foot shall follow;
Over the height, into the hollow,
Up to the caves of pure cold breath,
Down to the deeps of foul hot death,
Across the seas, through the fires,
Past the palace of desires;
Where he will, whether he will or no,
If I go, I care not whither I go.
For in me is the taint of the faery blood.
Fast, fast its emerald flood
Leaps within me, violent rude
Like a bestial faun's beatitude.
In me the faery blood runs hard:
My sires were a druid, a devil, a bard,
A beast, a wizard, a snake and a satyr;
For - as my mother said - what does it matter?
She was a fay, pure of the faery;
Queen Morgan's daughter by an aery
Demon that came to Orkney once
To pay the Beetle his orisons.
So, it is I that writhe with the twitch
Of the faery blood, and the wizard itch
To attain a matter one may not utter
Rather than sink in the greasy splutter
Of Britons munching their bread and butter;
Ailing boys and coarse-grained girls
Grown to sloppy women and brutal churls.
So, I am off with staff in hand
To the endless light of the nameless land.
Darkness spreads its sombre streams,
Blotting out the elfin dreams.
I might haply be afraid,
Were it not the Feather-maid
Leads me softly by the hand,
Whispers me to understand.
Now (when through the world of weeping
Light at last starrily creeping
Steals upon my babe-new sight,
Light - O light that is not light!)
On my mouth the lips of her
Like a stone on my sepulchre
Seal my speech with ecstasy,
Till a babe is born of me
That is silent more than I;
For its inarticulate cry
Hushes as its mouth is pressed
To the pearl, her honey breast;
While its breath divinely ripples
The rose-petals of her nipples,
And the jetted milk he laps
From the soft delicious paps,
Sweeter than the bee-sweet showers
In the chalice of the flowers,
More intoxicating than
All the purple grapes of Pan.
Ah! my proper lips are stilled.
Only, all the world is filled
With the Echo, that drips over
Like the honey from the clover.
Passion, penitence, and pain
Seek their mother's womb again,
And are born the triple treasure,
Peace and purity and pleasure.
- Hush, my child, and come aloft
Where the stars are velvet soft!
Aleister Crowley |
So it is eighteen years,
Helena, since we met!
A season so endears,
Nor you nor I forget
The fresh young faces that once clove
In that most fiery dawn of love.
We wandered to and fro,
Who knew not how to woo,
Those eighteen years ago,
Sweetheart, when I and you
Exchanged high vows in heaven's sight
That scarce survived a summer's night.
What scourge smote from the stars
What madness from the moon?
That night we broke the bars
Was quintessential June,
When you and I beneath the trees
Bartered our bold virginities.
Eighteen -years, months, or hours?
Time is a tyrant's toy!
Eternal are the flowers!
We are but girl and boy
Yet -since love leapt as swift to-night
As it had never left the light!
For fiercer from the South
Still flames your cruel hair,
And Trojan Helen's mouth
Still not so ripe and rare
As Helena's -nor love nor youth
So leaps with lust or thrills with truth.
Helena, still we hold
Flesh firmer, still we mix
Black hair with hair as gold.
Life has but served to fix
Our hearts; love lingers on the tongue,
And who loves once is always young.
The stars are still the same;
The changeful moon endures;
Come without fear or shame,
And draw my mouth to yours!
Youth fails, however flesh be fain;
Manhood and womanhood attain.
Life is a string of pearls,
And you the first I strung.
You left -first flower of girls! -
Life lyric on my tongue,
An indefatigable dance,
An inexhaustible romance!
Blush of love's dawn, bright bud
That bloomed for my delight,
First blossom of my blood,
Burn in that blood to-night!
Helena, Helena, fiercely fresh,
Your flesh flies fervent to my flesh.
What sage can dare impugn
Our godhead swims, immune
From death and destiny.
Ignored the bubble in the flow
Of love eighteen short years ago!
Time -I embrace all time
As my arm rings your waist.
Space -you surpass, sublime,
As, taking me, we taste
Omnipotence, sense slaying sense,
Soul slaying soul, omniscience.
Aleister Crowley |
Forth flashed the serpent streak of steel,
Consummate crown of man's device;
Down crashed upon an immobile
And brainless barrier of ice.
The grey gods shoot a laughing lip: -
Let not faith founder with the ship!
We reel before the blows of fate;
Our stout souls stagger at the shock.
Oh! there is Something ultimate
Fixed faster than the living rock.
Catastrophe beyond belief
Harden our hearts to fear and grief!
The gods upon the Titans shower
Their high intolerable scorn;
But no god knoweth in what hour
A new Prometheus may be born.
Man to his doom goes driving down;
A crown of thorns is still a crown!
No power of nature shall withstand
At last the spirit of mankind:
It is not built upon the sand;
It is not wastrel to the wind.
Disaster and destruction tend
To taller triumph in the end.
Aleister Crowley |
"To Lionel Engers-Kennedy: to the memory of Hargrave Jennings: and
Beneath the vine tree and the fig
Where mortal cares may not intrude,
On melon and on sucking pig
Although their brains are bright and big
Banquet the Great White Brotherhood.
Among the fountains and the trees
That fringed his garden's glowing border,
At sunset walked, and, in the breeze
With his disciples, took his ease
An Adept of the Holy Order.
"My children," Said the holy man,
"Once more I'm willing to unmask me.
This is my birthday; and my plan
Is to bestow on you (I can)
Whatever favour you may ask me.
Nor curiosity nor greed
Brought these disciples to disaster;
For, being very wise indeed,
The adolescents all agreed
To ask His Secret of the Master.
With the "aplomb" and "savoir faire"
Peculiar to Eastern races,
He took the secret then and there
(What, is not lawful to declare),
And thrust it rudely in their faces.
"A filthy insult!" screamed the first;
The second smiled, "Ingenious blind!"
The youngest neither blessed nor cursed,
Contented to believe the worst -
That He had spoken all his mind!
The second earned the name of prig,
The first the epithet of prude;
The third, as merry as a grig,
On melon and on sucking pig
Feasts with the Great White Brotherhood.
Aleister Crowley |
Come, my darling, let us dance
To the moon that beckons us
To dissolve our love in trance
Heedless of the hideous
Heat & hate of Sirius-
Shun his baneful brilliance!
Let us dance beneath the palm
Moving in the moonlight, frond
Wooing frond above the calm
Of the ocean diamond
Sparkling to the sky beyond
The enchantment of our psalm.
Let us dance, my mirror of
Perfect passion won to peace,
Let us dance, my treasure trove,
On the marble terraces
Carven in pallid embroeideries
For the vestal veil of Love.
Heaven awakes to encompass us,
Hell awakes its jubilance
In our hearts mysterious
Marriage of the azure expanse,
With the scarlet brilliance
Of the Moon with Sirius.
Velvet swatches our lissome limbs
Languid lapped by sky & sea
Soul through sense & spirit swims
Through the pregnant porphyry
Dome of lapiz-lazuli:-
Heart of silence, hush our hymns.
Come my darling; let us dance
Through the golden galaxies
Rythmic swell of circumstance
Beaming passion’s argosies:
Ecstacy entwined with ease,
Terrene joy transcending trance!
Thou my scarlet concubine
Draining heart’s blood to the lees
To empurple those divine
Lips with living luxuries
Life importunate to appease
Drought insatiable of wine!
Tunis in the tremendous trance
Rests from day’s incestuous
Traffic with the radiance
Of her sire-& over us
Gleams the intoxicating glance
Of the Moon & Sirius.
Take the ardour of my impearled
Essence that my shoulders seek
To intensify the curled
Candour of the eyes oblique,
Eyes that see the seraphic sleek
Lust bewitch the wanton world.
Come, my love, my dove, & pour
From thy cup the serpent wine
Brimmed & breathless -secret store
Of my crimson concubine
Surfeit spirit in the shrine-
Devil -Godess -Virgin -Whore.
Afric sands ensorcel us,
Afric seas & skies entrance
Velvet, lewd & luminous
Night surveys our soul askance!
Come my love, & let us dance
To the Moon and Sirius!
Aleister Crowley |
Come to my arms --- is it eve? is it morn?
Is Apollo awake? Is Diana reborn?
Are the streams in full song? Do the woods whisper hush
Is it the nightingale? Is it the thrush?
Is it the smile of the autumn, the blush
Of the spring? Is the world full of peace or alarms?
Come to my arms, Laylah, come to my arms!
Come to my arms, though the hurricane blow.
Thunder and summer, or winter and snow,
It is one to us, one, while our spirits are curled
In the crimson caress: we are fond, we are furled
Like lilies away from the war of the world.
Are there spells beyond ours? Are there alien charms?
Come to my arms, Laylah, come to my arms!
Come to my arms! is it life? is it death?
Is not all immortality born of your breath?
Are not heaven and hell but as handmaids of yours
Who are all that enflames, who are all that allures,
Who are all that destroys, who are all that endures?
I am yours, do I care if it heals me or harms?
Come to my arms, Laylah, come to my arms!
Aleister Crowley |
To-night I tread the unsubstantial way
That looms before me, as the thundering night
Falls on the ocean: I must stop, and pray
One little prayer, and then - what bitter fight
Flames at the end beyond the darkling goal?
These are my passions that my feet must read;
This is my sword, the fervour of my soul;
This is my Will, the crown upon my head.
For see! the darkness beckons: I have gone,
Before this terrible hour, towards the gloom,
Braved the wild dragon, called the tiger on
With whirling cries of pride, sought out the tomb
Where lurking vampires battened, and my steel
Has wrought its splendour through the gates of death
My courage did not falter: now I feel
My heart beat wave-wise, and my throat catch breath
As if I choked; some horror creeps between
The spirit of my will and its desire,
Some just reluctance to the Great Unseen
That coils its nameless terrors, and its dire
Fear round my heart; a devil cold as ice
Breathes somewhere, for I feel his shudder take
My veins: some deadlier asp or cockatrice
Slimes in my senses: I am half awake,
Half automatic, as I move along
Wrapped in a cloud of blackness deep as hell,
Hearing afar some half-forgotten song
As of disruption; yet strange glories dwell
Above my head, as if a sword of light,
Rayed of the very Dawn, would strike within
The limitations of this deadly night
That folds me for the sign of death and sin -
O Light! descend! My feet move vaguely on
In this amazing darkness, in the gloom
That I can touch with trembling sense.
Once, in my misty memory, in the womb
Of some unformulated thought, the flame
And smoke of mighty pillars; yet my mind
Is clouded with the horror of this same
Path of the wise men: for my soul is blind
Yet: and the foemen I have never feared
I could not see (if such should cross the way),
And therefore I am strange: my soul is seared
With desolation of the blinding day
I have come out from: yes, that fearful light
Was not the Sun: my life has been the death,
This death may be the life: my spirit sight
Knows that at last, at least.
My doubtful breath
Is breathing in a nobler air; I know,
I know it in my soul, despite of this,
The clinging darkness of the Long Ago,
Cruel as death, and closer than a kiss,
This horror of great darkness.
I am come
Into this darkness to attain the light:
To gain my voice I make myself as dumb:
That I may see I close my outer sight:
So, I am here.
My brows are bent in prayer:
I kneel already in the Gates of Dawn;
And I am come, albeit unaware,
To the deep sanctuary: my hope is drawn
From wells profounder than the very sea.
Yea, I am come, where least I guessed it so,
Into the very Presence of the Three
That Are beyond all Gods.
And now I know
What spiritual Light is drawing me
Up to its stooping splendour.
In my soul
I feel the Spring, the all-devouring Dawn,
Rush with my Rising.
There, beyond the goal,
The Veil is rent!
Yes: let the veil be drawn.
Aleister Crowley |
A part, immutable, unseen,
Being, before itself had been,
Like dew a triple queen
Shone as the void uncovered:
The silence of deep height was drawn
A veil across the silver dawn
On holy wings that hovered.
The music of three thoughts became
The beauty, that is one white flame,
The justice that surpasses shame,
The victory, the splendour,
The sacred fountain that is whirled
From depths beyond that older world
A new world to engender.
The kingdom is extended.
Dwells, and I contemplate the sight
That is not seeing, but the light
That secretly is kindled,
Though oft-time its most holy fire
Lacks oil, whene'er my own Desire
Before desire has dwindled.
I see the thin web binding me
With thirteen cords of unity
Toward the calm centre of the sea.
(O thou supernal mother!)
The triple light my path divides
To twain and fifty sudden sides
Each perfect as each other.
Now backwards, inwards still my mind
Must track the intangible and blind,
And seeking, shall securely find
Hidden in secret places
Fresh feasts for every soul that strives,
New life for many mystic lives,
And strange new forms and faces.
My mind still searches, and attains
By many days and many pains
To That which Is and Was and reigns
Shadowed in four and ten;
And loses self in sacred lands,
And cries and quickens, and understands
Beyond the first Amen.
Aleister Crowley |
Snow that fallest from heaven, bear me aloft on thy wings
To the domes of the star-girdled Seven, the abode of
Quintessence of joy and of strength, that, abolishing
future and past,
Mak'st the Present an infinite length, my soul all-One
with the Vast,
The Lone, the Unnameable God, that is ice of His
Without being or form or abode, without motion or
matter, the fold
Where the shepherded Universe sleeps, with nor sense
nor delusion nor dream,
No spirit that wantons or weeps, no thought in its silence
I sit, and am utterly still; in mine eyes is my fathomless
Ablaze to annihilate Will, to crumble my being to dust,
To calcine the dust to an ash, to burn up the ash to an air,
To abolish the air with a flash of the final, the fulminant
All this I have done, and dissolved the primordial germ
of my thought;
I have rolled myself up, and revolved the wheel of my
being to Naught.
Is there even the memory left? That I was, that I am?
It is lost.
As I utter the Word, I am cleft by the last swift spear of
Snow! I am nothing at last; I sit, and am utterly still;
They are perished, the phantoms, and past; they were
born of my weariness-will
When I craved, craved being and form, when the con-
sciousness-cloud was a mist
Precurser of stupor and storm, when I and my shadow
And brought into life all the shapes that confused the
clear space with their marks,
Vain spectres whose vapour escapes, a whirlwind of
No substance have any of these; I have dreamed them in
sickness of lust,
Delirium born of disease-ah, whence was the master,
Imposed on the All? is it true, then, that
something in me
Is subject to fate? Are there two, after all,
that can be?
I have brought all that is to an end; for myself am suffic-
ient and sole.
Do I trick myself now? Shall I rend once again this
I have stripped every garment from space; I have
strangled the secre of Time,
All being is fled from my face, with Motion's inhibited
Stiller and stiller I sit, till even Infinity fades;
'Tis an idol-'tis weakness of wit that breeds, in inanity,
Yet the fullness of Naught I become, the deepest and
Contains in its nature the sum of the functions of being
Still as I sit, and destroy all possible trace of the past,
All germ of the future, nor joy nor knowledge alive at the
It is vain, for the Silence is dowered with a nature, the
seed of a name:
Necessity, fearfully flowered with the blossom of possible
I am Necessity? Scry Necessity mother of Fate!
And Fate determines me "I"; and I have the Will to create.
Vast is the sphere, but it turns on itself like the pettiest
And I am the looby that learns that all things equally are.
Inscrutable Nothing, the Gods, the cosmos of Fire and
Suns,atoms, the clouds and the clouds ineluctably dare
I have made the Voyage of Thought, the Voyage of Vision,
To the heart of the Ocean of Naught from the source of
the Spring of I am:
I know myself wholly the brother alike of the All and the
I know that all things are each other, that their sum and
their substance is None;
But the knowledge itself can excel, its fulness hath broken
All's Truth, and all's falsehood as well, and-what of the
So, still though I sit, as for ever, I stab to the heart of my
I destroy the last seed of endeavour to seal up my soul
in the shrine
Of Silence, Eternity, Peace; I abandon the Here and the
I cease from the effort to cease; I absolve the dead I from
I am wholly content to be dust, whether that be a mote
or a star,
To live and to love and to lust, acknowledge what seem
for what are,
Not to care what I am, if I be, whence I came, whither go,
how I thrive,
If my spirit be bound or be free, save as Nature contrive.
What I am, that I am, 'tis enough.
I am part of a glorious
Am I cast for madness or love? I am cast to esteem them
Am I only a dream in the sleep of some butterfly?
Phantom of fright
Conceived, who knows how, or how deep, in the measure-
less womb of the night?
I imagine impossible thought, metaphysical voids that
Ideas intagible wrought to things less conceivable yet.
It may be.
Little I reck -but, assume the existence of
Am I born to be hanged by the neck, a curse from the
hour of my birth?
Am I born to abolish man's guilt? His horrible heritage,
Or a seed in his wantoness spilt by a jester? I care not
For I understand Do what thou wilt; and that is the whole
of the Law.
Aleister Crowley |
Ware, nor of good nor ill, what aim hath act?
Without its climax, death, what savour hath
Life? an impeccable machine, exact
He paces an inane and pointless path
To glut brute appetites, his sole content
How tedious were he fit to comprehend
Himself! More, this our noble element
Of fire in nature, love in spirit, unkenned
Life hath no spring, no axle, and no end.
His body a bloody-ruby radiant
With noble passion, sun-souled Lucifer
Swept through the dawn colossal, swift aslant
On Eden's imbecile perimeter.
He blessed nonentity with every curse
And spiced with sorrow the dull soul of sense,
Breathed life into the sterile universe,
With Love and Knowledge drove out innocence
The Key of Joy is disobedience.
Aleister Crowley |
Kill off mankind,
And give the Earth a chance!
Nature might find
In her inheritance
The seedlings of a race
Less infinitely base.
Aleister Crowley |
How should I seek to make a song for thee
When all my music is to moan thy name?
That long sad monotone - the same - the same -
Matching the mute insatiable sea
That throbs with life's bewitching agony,
Too long to measure and too fierce to tame!
An hurtful joy, a fascinating shame
Is this great ache that grips the heart of me.
Even as a cancer, so this passion gnaws
Away my soul, and will not ease its jaws
Till I am dead.
Then let me die! Who knows
But that this corpse committed to the earth
May be the occasion of some happier birth?
Spring's earliest snowdrop? Summer's latest rose?
Thou knowest what asp hath fixed its lethal tooth
In the white breast that trembled like a flower
At thy name whispered.
thou hast marked how hour
By hour its poison hath dissolved my youth,
Half skilled to agonise, half skilled to soothe
This passion ineluctable, this power
Slave to its single end, to storm the tower
That holdeth thee, who art Authentic Truth.
O golden hawk! O lidless eye! Behold
How the grey creeps upon the shuddering gold!
Still I will strive! That thou mayst sweep
Swift on the dead from thine all-seeing steep -
And the unutterable word by spoken.