Was this His coming! I had hoped to see
A scene of wondrous glory, as was told
Of some great God who in a rain of gold
Broke open bars and fell on Danaë:
Or a dread vision as when Semele
Sickening for love and unappeased desire
Prayed to see God's clear body, and the fire
Caught her brown limbs and slew her utterly:
With such glad dreams I sought this holy place,
And now with wondering eyes and heart I stand
Before this supreme mystery of Love:
Some kneeling girl with passionless pale face,
An angel with a lily in his hand,
And over both the white wings of a Dove.
This early poem of Wilde's expresses quite forcefully one of the most astounding things about Christianity -- the fact that, in the bare outline of its central truths, it is so very ordinary. Those classical allusions are not just the poet's way of showing off (although he was certainly capable of showing off). They underscore the vital difference between the Gospel and the long mythological tradition that echoes in it -- the difference between the fanciful stories that men make up about God and the very simple story God chose to make up about Himself.