The Charles Williams Society

The Emperor and The Zodiac

In Autumn 2004, the Charles Williams Quarterly included a previously-unpublished poem fragment. We’re reposting it here, but you can also download the issue of the Quarterly here.

The Emperor and The Zodiac
Charles Williams

In the throne of the Emperor are the twelve zodiacal images,
each the generation of creation and each its consummation,
twelvefold to the world beyond Byzantium,
the affliction of benediction, since the Adam yearned
to share the knowledge and learned what they could bear,
in that creation, of what was also salvation
in flesh and intellect and soul, the twelve mysteries
that walked also with the shining Logos in Galilee.

The lord Taliessin saw the divine Emperor
set above peace and war, he saw the City
gathering itself in the twelve images in the throne
as later in Logres, scattering itself in stars,
hints of perfection, falling flashes of beatitude,
when he heard the thunder of the Emperor riding above him.
He saw in Logres the form of a man twelve-based,
the form of a woman, the empire reflecting the zodiac.

The workings of the sublime Emperor
attributed to the themes their qualities of cause and perseverance,
as the sacred sun, with all the spiritual planets
attending, wending through the grand zodiacal houses,
sheds in its light the influence of each on the earth:
light beyond the sun as Sarras beyond Carbonek
lying, as God beyond the operative Emperor;
and the myths in Broceliande as the powers dwell in the zodiac.

The body was bared and balanced in Libra;
Justice lay at the bottom, and in Caucasia (here the fragment cuts off)