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Night Litany
by Ezra Pound
from A Quinzaine for This Yule (published in 1909 by Pollock and Co.)


O Dieu, purifiez nos cœurs!
          Purifiez nos cœurs!

Yea the lines hast thou laid unto me 
          in pleasant places,
And the beauty of this thy Venice 
          hast thou shown unto me
Until is its loveliness become unto me 
          a thing of tears.

O God, what great kindness 
          have we done in times past 
          and forgotten it,
That thou givest this wonder unto us, 
          O God of waters?

O God of the night, 
          What great sorrow
Cometh unto us,
That thou thus repayest us 
          Before the time of its coming?

O God of silence, 
          Purifiez nos cœurs, 
          Purifiez nos cœurs,
For we have seen
The glory of the shadow of the 
          likeness of thine handmaid,

Yea, the glory of the shadow 
          of thy Beauty hath walked
Upon the shadow of the waters
In this thy Venice. 
          And before the holiness
Of the shadow of thy handmaid
     Have I hidden mine eyes, 
          O God of waters.

O God of silence, 
          Purifiez nos cœurs, 
          Purifiez nos cœurs,
O God of waters, 
          make clean our hearts within us, 
          For I have seen the
Shadow of this thy Venice
Floating upon the waters, 
          And thy stars

Have seen this thing, out of their far courses
Have they seen this thing, 
          O God of waters,
Even as are thy stars
Silent unto us in their far-coursing,
Even so is mine heart
become silent within me. 

          Purifiez nos cœurs,
O God of the silence, 
          Purifiez nos cœurs,
O God of waters.

 

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