Not for all the beauty

will I ever be lost,

but for I-know-not-what

that by fortune I may reach.
The taste of what is finite,

Goes only as far

As to weary the appetite

And destroy the taste;

Thus not for sweetness

Will I ever be lost,

But for I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach.
The generous heart

Never cares to stop

Where it is easy to cross,

But tries where it is hard;

Nothing satisfies him,

And with faith he climbs so high,

That he tastes I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach.
He who is pierced by love,

Or touched by the divine,

Has his taste so changed

That to all taste he is dead;

As someone may leave

The food he sees when he is sick,

And craves for I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach.
Do not be surprised

That taste be thus changed,

For the cause of this evil

Is alien to all the rest;

Thus every creature

Sees itself estranged,

And tastes I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach.
For as soon as the will

is touched from above,

It cannot be satisfied

But with the divine;

Its beauty being such

That only faith may show it,

For it tastes of I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach.
Tell me if for such a lover,

You will feel any pain,

For he finds no pleasure

Among created things;

Alone, with no figure or shape,

Without company or even memory,

Except the taste of I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach.
Do not think that the soul,

That is worth much more,

Finds joy and happiness

In what on earth gives taste;

It is beyond beauty,

In what is, was or will be,

That it tastes I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach.
Whoever wants to advance

Would better use care

In what is left to gain

Than in what he has already won;

And thus aiming for the heights,

I will always try

For that I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach.
What comes through the senses

And may here be understood

And whatever may be learned,

Even though very high,

Not for all that beauty

Will I ever be lost,

But for that I-know-not-what

That by fortune I may reach. 
St. John of the Cross

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