Monday, 2 October 2017


The poem below is by James Stephens (1880-1950), the Irish poet and author of The Crock of Gold, and comes from his 1912 volume of verse, The Hill of Vision.

I heard it for the first time yesterday, when it was sung to the tune of the Welsh folk-song, 'Tros y Garreg' (well, 'Irish' and 'Welsh', they're both Celtic!) at the Mass for The Feast of Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and All Angels at St John the Divine, Kennington.

Twenty-four hours later, this profoundly mystical proposition is still rattling around in my mind...

The Fullness of Time
On a rusty iron throne
Past the furthest star of space
I saw Satan sit alone,
Old and haggard was his face;
For his work was done and he
Rested in eternity.

And to him from out the sun
Came his father and his friend
Saying, now the work is done
Enmity is at an end:
And he guided Satan to
Paradises that he knew.

Gabriel without a frown,
Uriel without a spear,
Raphael came singing down
Welcoming their ancient peer,
And they seated him beside
One who had been crucified.

[Illustration: Gustave Doré for John Milton's Paradise Lost, c. 1866]


Nancy Reyes said...

Pope Francis would love it. Mercy for all.
No repentance needed.

Brian Sibley said...

'Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love Divine!
'Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
'Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

Val said...

Really interesting piece. Thank you.
It reminds me that I still want to track down an article/essay ? on or by William Blake where he discusses the Battle between Good v Evil. It provoked my interest when I overheard it being discussed (quite a long time ago)yet that I have not yet tracked down to read it myself