www.lewisiana.nl > Notes on C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm




Walter De la Mare (1873–1956)




Be not too wildly amorous of the far,

  Nor lure thy fantasy to its utmost scope.

Read by a taper when the needling star

  Burns red with menace in heaven’s midnight cope.

Friendly thy body: guard its solitude.

  Sure shelter is they heart. It once had rest

Where founts miraculous thy lips endewed,

  Yet nought loomed further than thy mother’s breast.


O brave adventure! Ay, at danger slake

  Thy thirst, lest life in thee should, sickening, quail;

But not toward nightmare goad a mind awake,

  Nor to forbidden horizons bend thy sail –

Seductive outskirts whence in trance prolonged

  Thy gaze, at stretch of what is sane-secure,

Dreams out on steeps by shapes demoniac thronged

  And vales wherein alone the dead endure.


Nectarous those flowers, yet with venom sweet.

  Thick-juiced with poison hang those fruits that shine

Where sick phantasmal moonbeams brood and beat,

  And dark imaginations ripe the vine.

Bethink thee: every enticing league thou wend

  Beyond the mark where life its bound hath set

Will lead thee at length where human pathways end

  And the dark enemy spreads his maddening net.


Comfort thee, comfort thee. Thy Father knows

  How wild man's ardent spirit, fainting, yearns

For mortal glimpse of death’s immortal rose,

  The garden where the invisible blossom burns.

Humble thy trembling knees; confess thy pride;

  Be weary. Oh, whithersoever thy vaunting rove,

His deepest wisdom harbours in thy side,

  In thine own bosom hides His utmost love.

[1] from The Veil and Other Poems (1921).