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A Voice

One day I was walking over a bit of marshy ground close to Inchy Wood
when I felt, all of a sudden, and only for a second, an emotion which I
said to myself was the root of Christian mysticism. There had swept
over me a sense of weakness, of dependence on a great personal Being
somewhere far off yet near at hand. No thought of mine had prepared me
for this emotion, for I had been pre-occupied with Aengus and Edain, and
with Mannanan, son of the sea. That night I awoke lying upon my back
and hearing a voice speaking above me and saying, "No human soul is
like any other human soul, and therefore the love of God for any human
soul is infinite, for no other soul can satisfy the same need in God."
A few nights after this I awoke to see the loveliest people I have ever
seen. A young man and a young girl dressed in olive-green raiment, cut
like old Greek raiment, were standing at my bedside. I looked at the
girl and noticed that her dress was gathered about her neck into a kind
of chain, or perhaps into some kind of stiff embroidery which
represented ivy-leaves. But what filled me with wonder was the
miraculous mildness of her face. There are no such faces now. It was
beautiful, as few faces are beautiful, but it had neither, one would
think, the light that is in desire or in hope or in fear or in
speculation. It was peaceful like the faces of animals, or like
mountain pools at evening, so peaceful that it was a little sad. I
thought for a moment that she might be the beloved of Aengus, but how
could that hunted, alluring, happy, immortal wretch have a face like
this? Doubtless she was from among the children of the Moon, but who
among them I shall never know.


1902.

William Butler Yeats