The Flaming Heart

Original Text: 
Richard Crashaw, Carmen Deo Nostro (1652).
76Big alike with wounds and darts,
77Live in these conquering leaves; live all the same,
78And walk through all tongues one triumphant flame;
79Live here, great heart, and love and die and kill,
80And bleed and wound, and yield and conquer still.
81Let this immortal life, where'er it comes,
82Walk in a crowd of loves and martyrdoms;
83Let mystic deaths wait on 't, and wise souls be
84The love-slain witnesses of this life of thee.
85O sweet incendiary! show here thy art,
86Upon this carcass of a hard cold heart,
87Let all thy scatter'd shafts of light, that play
88Among the leaves of thy large books of day,
89Combin'd against this breast, at once break in
90And take away from me my self and sin;
91This gracious robbery shall thy bounty be,
92And my best fortunes such fair spoils of me.
93O thou undaunted daughter of desires!
94By all thy dow'r of lights and fires,
96By all thy lives and deaths of love,
98And by thy thirsts of love more large than they,
99By all thy brim-fill'd bowls of fierce desire,
100By thy last morning's draught of liquid fire,
101By the full kingdom of that final kiss
102That seiz'd thy parting soul and seal'd thee his,
103By all the heav'ns thou hast in him,
104Fair sister of the seraphim!
105By all of him we have in thee,
106Leave nothing of my self in me:
107Let me so read thy life that I
108Unto all life of mine may die.


75] The poem appeared in a shorter form first in the second edition of Steps to the Temple. Back to Line
95] symbols of strength and gentleness, or, perhaps, of wisdom and mercy. Back to Line
97] intellectual day: pure thought. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.346.