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Perplexing me with lies; and oft I fall,
Maybe for months, in such blind lethargies,
Bethink thee, Lord, while thou and all the saints
Sit with their wives by fires, eat wholesome food,
To Christ, the Virgin Mother, and the Saints;
I wake the chill stars sparkle; I am wet
With drenching dews, or stiff with crackling frost.
I wear an undress'd goatskin on my
A grazing iron collar grinds my neck;
And in my weak, lean arms I lift the cross,
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;
That here come those that worship me? Ha! ha!
The silly people take me for a saint,
And bring me offerings of fruit and flowers:
Good people, you do ill to kneel to me.
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.
of you halt or maim'd?
I think you know I have some power with Heaven
From my long penance : let him speak his wish.
Yes, I can heal him. Power goes forth from me.
that they are heal'd. Ah, hark! they shout
"St. Simeon Stylites." Why, if so,
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,
I, Simeon of the pillar, by surname
The watcher on the column till the end;
From my high nest of penance here proclaim
A vessel full of sin: all hell beneath
Made me boil over. Devils pluck'd my sleeve;
I smote them with the cross; they swarm'd again.
Your flesh, like me, with scourges and with thorns ;
Whole Lents, and pray. I hardly, with slow steps-
God only thro' his bounty hath thought fit
To make me an example to mankind,
Which few can reach to.
Yet I do not say
But that a time may come-yea, even now,
Of life—I say, that time is at the doors
And you may carve a shrine about my dust,
While I spake then, a sting of shrewdest pain
These heavy, horny eyes. The end! the end!
That holds a crown? Come, blessed brother, come.
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,