But I thought I would also take the opportunity to post another of the many interesting poems from this anthology. ‘Of Consummation’ is an encomium to ascetic struggle and particularly, it would seem, celibacy, by the English occultist Arthur Edward Waite, a member of the Golden Dawn (along with Nicholson and Williams), the designer of the most famous Tarot deck, and a fringe Catholic who believed in ‘what he called the “Secret Tradition” of Christianity’—basically a sort of Gnosticism (see Carpenter, p. 82). It is found in Nicholson and Lee, p. 444:
Wise, O heart, is the heart which loves; but what of the heart which refrains—
Not as if counting the cost, and preferring the ease to the pains,
But knowing how treasures of all are neither received nor given,
The aching void that is under love and above it the aching heaven?
Wise are the lips which have learn’d how long may linger the lips’ caress,
But wiser they who the hungering lips can chasten and repress,
For that which our fain mouths burn to kiss and loving arms to embrace
Has never been given to lips or arms in the world of time and space.
Wise, therefore, and wise above all, is he who does not swerve aside,
But knows to his greatest need on earth is service of earth denied;
Who, least things asking of flesh and blood, and less than the least of rest,
Goes on demanding the perfect good and disdaining the second best.
After much conquest and toil not doubt, but high in his starry tracks,
Shall the greater ministers come to him burning the sacred flax,
Saying: So passes the world and so the glory and light expend;
But the High Term, follow’d unflinching, cries: I can repay at the end.
It would be interesting to know what Williams thought of the sentiment of this poem, which he surely read, in light of his own emphasis on the ‘Romantic Way’.