THE secret of the House of Set
              Is hidden in my sevenfold veil;
          For I am he that doth beget
              The Rood, and bear the Holy Graal.

          Yet is my manhood woman-frail,
              Barren my motherhood.  They now
          Shall men my mystic mountain scale?
              These ram's-horn thumbs jut from my brow

          To push them to the miry slough
              Wherein the foes of Set are caught.
          Come, let us pluck the Golden Bough
              From the brave Tree of life and thought!

          Who heareth naught, he heedeth naught.
              Come, we are safely housed and shrined
          Where subtler images are wrought
              Than boast the treasuries of Mind!



          The secret of the House of Set.
              As a poor pilgrim clambering
          Toils on the slopes, so I to get
              Halidom for my lord the King.

          Faintly and feebly murmuring
              I uttered the mysterious runes,
          And bade my body's sleekness sing
              Silky, satanic, subtle tunes.

          Was he not holy?  Milk of moons
              Were not so pallid as his cheek,
          And roses of a million Junes
              His mouth left livid.  So I seek

          In all God's seas a tiny creek
              Wherein to moor my shallop.  Nay!
          He is a mountain, chill with bleak
              Stark winds of innocence astray!

          The fearful passion sweeps me away.
              So with a passionate thrill of fear
          I creep --- like shadows across Day!
              Like Winter on the expended year! ---

          From those cold feet, a frozen meer,
              To those cold knees, a lost lagoon,
          To that wild woodland, strangely near
              To the lone tower that tops the moon!    


          Verily and Amen!  Unhewn
              The great grim forest menaces.
          What gardener may dare to prune
              Those woods to build me palaces?

          So climb, each ledge an infinite stress,
              Lustful as light, as lechery loth,
          From the brutality of Besz
              To the plumed perjury of Thoth!

          I held him holy.  Holier both
              Than aught the bearers of the bier,
          Thoum-aesh-neith and Auramoth,
              Saw in the hiding-house of fear.

          The sorceries that span the sphere,
              The spells that harness star and sun,
          I whispered in his siren ear ---
              Once, twice, and thrice for every one!

          Once, twice, and thrice --- the boon's begun!
              With four and five and six it stirs:
          With seven the druid dance is done,
              And Death drives home his silver spurs!

          Then --- the last leap.  What crowning curse
              Can bid that cup of curses brim?
          How may God's maniac ministers
              Lash the last languor out of Him?    


          I did it.  How?  So great and grim
              The Gods are, I may never guess.
          Suffice it, on his mouth I swim
              A drowning dastard.  The caress

          Wakes the lost life.  I see him dress
              The godhead.  Up he bounds and brays: ---
          The wild ass of the wilderness,
              The soul that sees, the soul that slays!

          Inhabit the untrodden ways;
              Set!   Thou my god and I thy priest,
          Thy temple hidden in the haze
              Of deserts death to god or beast!

          Thou who art both shalt foin and feast
              With me who am both, thy hate's co-heir,
          Lord of the West and of the East ---
              The scorpion's hole, the lion's lair!

          I kissed his mouth --- sublime despair!
              Our souls were one; our bodies met ---
          Yea! darkness cover everywhere
              The secret of the House of Set!

                                       ALYS CUSACK.   


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Return To Table of Contents Vol. I Number II.