I was the priest of Ammon-Ra in the temple of Ammon-Ra at Thebai.
But Bacchus came singing with his troops of vine-clad girls, of girls in dark mantles; and Bacchus in the midst like a fawn!
God! how I ran out in my rage and scattered the chorus!
But in my temple stood Bacchus as the priest of Ammon-Ra.
Therefore I went wildly with the girls into Abyssinia; and there we abode and rejoiced.
Exceedingly; yea, in good sooth!
I will eat the ripe and the unripe fruit for the glory of Bacchus.
Terraces of ilex, and tiers of onyx and opal and sardonyx leading up to the cool green porch of malachite.
Within is a crystal shell, shaped like an oyster - O glory of Priapus! O beatitude of the Great Goddess!
O Pearl! thou hast come from the majesty of dread Ammon-Ra.
Then I the priest beheld a steady glitter in the heart of the pearl.
So bright we could not look! But behold! a blood-red rose upon a rood of glowing gold!
So I adored the God. Bacchus! thou art the lover of my God!
I who was priest of Ammon-Ra, who saw the Nile flow by for many moons, for many, many moons, am the young fawn of the grey land.
I will set up my dance in your conventicles, and my secret loves shall be sweet among you.
Thou shalt have a lover among the lords of the grey land.
This shall he bring unto thee, without which all is in vain; a man's life spilt for thy love upon My Altars.
Let it be soon, O God, my God! I ache for Thee, I wander very lonely among the mad folk, in the grey land of desolation.
Thou shalt set up the abominable lonely Thing of wickedness. Oh joy! to lay that corner-stone!
It shall stand erect upon the high mountain; only my God shall commune with it.
I will build it of a single ruby; it shall be seen from afar off.
Come! let us irritate the vessels of the earth: they shall distil strange wine.
It grows under my hand: it shall cover the whole heaven.
Thou art behind me: I scream with a mad joy.
Then said Ithuriel the strong; let Us also worship this invisible marvel!
So did they, and the archangels swept over the heaven.
Strange and mystic, like a yellow priest invoking mighty flights of great grey birds from the North, so do I stand and invoke Thee!
Let them obscure not the sun with their wings and their clamour!
Take away form and its following!
Thou art like an osprey among the rice, I am the great red pelican in the sunset waters.
I am like a black eunuch; and Thou art the scimitar. I smite off the head of the light one, the breaker of bread and salt.
Yea! I smite - and the blood makes as it were a sunset on the lapis lazuli of the King's Bedchamber.
I smite! The whole world is broken up into a mighty wind, and a voice cries aloud in a tongue that men cannot speak.
I know that awful sound of primal joy; let us follow on the wings of the gale even unto the holy house of Hathor; let us offer the five jewels of the cow upon her altar!
Again the inhuman voice!
I rear my Titan bulk into the teeth of the gale, and I smite and prevail, and swing me out over the sea.
There is a strange pale God, a god of pain and deadly wickedness.
My own soul bites into itself, like a scorpion ringed with fire.
That pallid God with face averted, that God of subtlety and laughter, that young Doric God, him will I serve.
For the end thereof is torment unspeakable.
Better the loneliness of the great grey sea!
But ill befall the folk of the grey land, my God!
Let me smother them with my roses!
Oh Thou delicious God, smile sinister!
I pluck Thee, O my God, like a purple plum upon a sunny tree. How Thou dost melt in my mouth, Thou consecrated sugar of the Stars!
The world is all grey before mine eyes; it is like an old worn wine-skin.
All the wine of it is on these lips.
Thou hast begotten me upon a marble Statue, O my God!
The body is icy cold with the coldness of a million moons; it is harder than the adamant of eternity. How shall I come forth into the light?
Thou art He, O God! O my darling! my child! my plaything! Thou art like a cluster of maidens, like a multitude of swans upon the lake.
I feel the essence of softness.
I am hard and strong and male; but come Thou! I shall be soft and weak and feminine.
Thou shalt crush me in the wine-press of Thy love. My blood shall stain Thy fiery feet with litanies of Love in Anguish.
There shall be a new flower in the fields, a new vintage in the vineyards.
The bees shall gather a new honey; the poets shall sing a new song.
I shall gain the Pain of the Goat for my prize; and the God that sitteth upon the shoulders of Time shall drowse.
Then shall all this which is written be accomplished: yea, it shall be accomplished.