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                        Love setteth me a-burning.
                        When my new Spouse had won me;
                        My piteous state discerning,
                        Had set His ring upon me:
                        The conqueror’s prize returning,
                        Love’s knife had all undone me,
                        All my heart broke with yearning.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                        My heart was broke asunder:
                        Earthward my body sprawling,
                        The arrow of Love’s wonder
                        From out the crossbow falling,
                        Like to a shaft of thunder
                        Made war of peace, enthralling
                        My life for passion’s plunder.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                        I die of very sweetness.
                        Yet be thou not astounded.
                        That lance of Love’s completeness
                        So sorrowfully wounded!
                        Oh, broad the iron’s meetness!
                        Not one arm’s length, a hundred
                        Has pierced me with its fleetness.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                        Then were the lances scattered
                        The ballister was flinging;
                        And aye the blows which battered
                        Upon my shield were ringing.
                        What could protect me, tattered,
                        Before that engine sinking?
                        So was I wholly shattered.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                        Assailed with such instruction
                        That all my bulwarks bevelled,*
                        Well nigh was I destruction
                        And shamefully dishevelled.
                        Still hear my sorrow’s fiction:
                        Anew a crossbow levelled
                        Vouchsafed me new affliction.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                                       * Dr. Swift.

31                                                                                                Such

                        Such perils did it vomit,
                        Great stones with metal weighted;
                        And every missile from it
                        With pounds a thousand freighted.
                        Plummet on awful plummet,
                        Hail unenumerated,
                        Urged with an aim consummate.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                        None missed; and nought defended
                        My breast from their unerring.
                        To earth I fell, distended,
                        No pulse within me stirring:
                        No longer I pretended
                        To meet the blows recurring;
                        I lay like one expended.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                        Not dead, but with a vernal
                        Surpassing joy made splendid;
                        Revived from my heart’s kernel,
                        With strength and purpose blended,
                        I followed those eternal
                        Pathways which surely ended
                        Within the lists supernal.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                        Then my new forces verging,
                        In helm and harness sightly,
                        All His dominion scourging,
                        On Christ I warred right knightly.
                        Great skill against Him urging,
                        I grappled with Him tightly,
                        The dastard in me purging.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                        My wounds avenged, we plighted
                        Our troth of truce and leisure
                        For Love’s sake sorely slighted;
                        Love lavished without measure.
                        To Christ at length united,
                        Made fit to bear its treasure
                        My heart is warmed and lighted.
                        Love setteth me a-burning.

                                                                                                JOHN GRAY


MLA citation:

Gray, John. “A Hymn Translated From the Italian of Saint Francis of Assisi.” The Dial, vol. 3, 1893, pp. 31-32. Dial Digital Edition, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2019-2020. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020.