This not be all in vain, that thrice ten

years, Thrice multiplied by superhuman pangs, In hungers and in thirsts, fevers and cold, In coughs, aches, stitches, ulcerous throes

and cramps, A sign betwixt the meadow and the cloud, Patient on this tall pillar I have borne Rain, wind, frost, heat, hail, damp, and

sleet, and snow; And I had hoped that ere this period

closed Thou wouldst have caught me up into thy

rest, Denying not these weather-beaten limbs The meed of saints, the white robe and

the palm. O take the meaning, Lord : I do not

breathe, Not whisper, any murmur of complaint, Pain heap'd ten-hundred-fold to this, were

still Less burthen, by ten-hundred-fold, to

bear, Than were those lead-like tons of sin, that

crush'd My spirit flat before thee.

O Lord, Lord, Thou knowest I bore this better at the

first, For I was strong and hale of body then ; And tho' my teeth, which now are dropt

away, Would chatter with the cold, and all my

beard Was tagg'd with icy fringes in the moon, I drown'd the whoopings of the owl with

sound Of pious hymns and psalms, and some

times saw An angel stand and watch me, as I sang. Now am I feeble grown; my end draws


I hope my end draws nigh : half deaf I

am, So that I scarce can hear the people hum About the column's base, and almost

blind, And scarce can recognise the fields I

know; And both my thighs are rotted with the

dew ; Yet cease I not to clamour and to cry, While my stiff spine can hold my weary

head, Till all my limbs drop piecemeal from

the stone, Have mercy, mercy : take away my sin.

Jesus, if thou wilt not save my soul, Who may be saved? who is it may be

saved ? Who may be made a saint, if I fail here? Show me the man hath suffer'd more

than I. For did not all thy martyrs die one death? For either they were stoned, or crucified, Or burn'd in fire, or boil'd in oil, or sawn In twain beneath the ribs ; but I die here To-day, and whole years long, a life of

death. Bear witness, if I could have found a way (And heedfully I sisted all my thought) More slowly-painful to subdue this home Of sin, my flesh, which I despise and hate, I had not stinted practice, O my God.

For not alone this pillar-punishment. Not this alone I bore : but while I lived In the white convent down the valley

there, For many weeks about my loins I wore The rope that haled the buckets from the


Twisted as tight as I could knot the

noose ; And spake not of it to a single soul, Until the ulcer, eating thro' my skin,

Betray'd my secret penance, so that all My brethren marvell’d greatly. More

than this I bore, whereof, O God, thou knowest all. Three winters, that my soul might

grow to thee, I lived up there on yonder mountain side. My right leg chain'd into the crag, I lay Pent in a roofless close of ragged stones ; Inswathed sometimes in wandering mist,

and twice Black'd with thy branding thunder, and

sometimes Sucking the damps for drink, and eating

And yet I know not well, For that the evil ones come here, and say, * Fall down, O Simeon: thou hast suffer'd

long For ages and for ages !' then they prate Of penances I cannot have gone thro', Perplexing me with lies ; and oft I fall, Maybe for months, in such blind lethar



Except the spare chance-gift of those that

came To touch my body and be heal’d, and

live: And they say then that I work'd miracles, Whereof my fame is loud amongst man

kind, Cured lameness, palsies, cancers. Thou,

O God, Knowest alone whether this was or no. Have mercy, mercy ; cover all my sin. Then, that I might be more alone with

thee, Three years I lived upon a pillar, high Six cubits, and three years on one of

twelve ; And twice three years I crouch'd on one

that rose Twenty by measure ; last of all, I grew Twice ten long weary weary years to this, That numbers forty cubits from the soil. I think that I have borne as much as

thisOr else I dream-and for so long a time, If I may measure time by yon slow light, And this high dial, which my sorrow

crowns So much--even so.

That Heaven, and Earth, and Time are choked.

But yet Bethink thee, Lord, while thou and all

the saints Enjoy themselves in heaven, and men on

earth House in the shade of comfortable roofs, Sit with their wives by fires, eat whole

some food, And wear warm clothes, and even beasts

have stalls, I, 'tween the spring and downfall of the

light, Bow down one thousand and two hundred

times, To Christ, the Virgin Mother, and the

Saints; Or in the night, after a little sleep, I wake : the chill stars sparkle ; I am wet With drenching dews, or stiff with crack

ling frost. I wear an undress'd goatskin on my

back ; A grazing iron collar grinds my neck ; And in my weak, lean arms I lift the

cross, And strive and wrestle with thee till I die : O mercy, mercy ! wash away my sin, O Lord, thou knowest what a man I

am ; A sinful man, conceived and born in sin : 'Tis their own doing ; this is none of mine;


Lay it not to me. Am I to blame for

this, That here come those that worship me?

Ha! ha! They think that I am somewhat. What

am I? The silly people take me for a saint, And bring me offerings of fruit and

flowers : And I, in truth (thou wilt bear witness

here) Ilave all in all endured as much, and

It cannot be but that I shall be saved ; Yea, crown'd a saint. They shout,

Behold a saint!' And lower voices saint me from above. Courage, St. Simeon ! This dull chrysalis Cracks into shining wings, and hope ere

death Spreads more and more and more, that

God hath now Sponged and made blank of crimeful

record all My mortal archives.

O my sons, my sons,


Than many just and holy men, whose

names Are register'd and calendar'd for saints.

Good people, you do ill to kneel to me. What is it I can have done to merit this? I am a sinner viler than you all. It may be I have wrought some miracles, And cured some halt and maim'd; but

what of that? It may be, no one, even among the saints, May match his pains with mine ; but

what of that? Yet do not rise; for you may look on me, And in your looking you may kneel to

God. Speak! is there any of you halt or

maim'd ? I think you know I have some power

with Heaven From my long penance : !et him speak

his wish. Yes, I can heal him. Power goes

forth from me. They say that they are heald. Ah, hark !

they shout *St. Simeon Stylites.' Why, if so, God reaps a harvest in me. O my soul, God reaps a harvest in thee. If this be, Can I work miracles and not be saved ? This is not told of any. They were saints.

Stylites, among men ; I, Simeon,
The watcher on the column till the end ;
I, Simeon, whose brain the sunshine

bakes ; I, whose bald brows in silent hours

become Unnaturally hoar with rime, do now From my high nest of penance here pro

claim That Pontius and Iscariot by my side Show'd like fair seraphs. On the coals I

lay, A vessel full of sin : all hell beneath Made me boil over. Devils pluck'd my

sleeve, Abaddon and Asmodeus caught at me. I smote them with the cross; they

swarm’d again. In bed like monstrous apes they crush'd

my chest : They flapp'd my light out as I read : I

saw Their faces grow between me and my

book; With colt-like whinny and with hoggish

whine They burst my prayer. Yet this way was

left, And by this way I'scaped them. Mortify Your flesh, like me, with scourges and

with thorns; Smite, shrink not, spare not. If it may

be, fast Whole Lents, and pray. I hardly, with

slow steps, With slow, faint steps, and much exceed

ing pain, Have scrambled past those pits of fire,

that still Sing in mine ears. But yield not me the

praise : God only thro' his bounty hath thought


Among the powers and princes of this

world, To make me an example to mankind, Which few can reach to. Yet I do not

A flash of light. Is that the angel there That holds a crown? Come, blessed

brother, come. I know thy glittering face. I waited

long; My brows are ready. What ! deny it

now? Nay, draw, draw, draw nigh. So I

clutch it. Christ ! 'Tis gone : 'tis here again ; the crown!

the crown ! So now 'tis fitted on and grows to me, And from it melt the dews of Paradise, Sweet ! sweet! spikenard, and balm, and

frankincense. Ah ! let me not be fool'd, sweet saints :

I trust That I am whole, and clean, and meet

for Heaven. Speak, if there be a priest, a man of

God, Among you there, and let him presently Approach, and lean a ladder on the shast, And climbing up into my airy home, Deliver me the blessed sacrament ; For by the warning of the Holy Ghost, I prophesy that I shall die to-night, A quarter before twelve.

But thou, O Lord, Aid all this foolish people ; let them take Example, pattern : lead them to thy light.


But that a time may come-yea, even

now, Now, now, his footsteps smite the

threshold stairs Of life-I say, that time is at the doors When you may worship me without

reproach ; For I will leave my relics in your land, And you may carve a shrine about my

dust, And burn a fragrant lamp before my

bones, When I am gather'd to the glorious

saints. While I spake then, a sting of shrewd.

est pain Ran shrivelling thro' me, and a cloudlike

change, In passing,. with a grosser film made

thick These heavy, horny eyes. The end ! the

end ! Surely the end! What's here? a shape,

a shade,


Once more the gate behind me falls ;

Once more before my face
I see the moulder'd Abbey-walls,

That stand within the chace.

Beyond the lodge the city lies,

Beneath its drift of smoke ; And ah ! with what delighted eyes

I turn to yonder oak.

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