by George Sterling (1869–1926)
Wherewith is Beauty fashioned? Canst thou deem
Her evanescent roses bourgeon save
Within the sunlight tender on her grave?
Awake no winds but bear her dust, a gleam
In morning’s prophecy or sunset’s dream;
And every cry that ever Sirens gave
From islands mournful with the quiring wave
Was echo of a music once supreme.
All æons, conquests, excellencies, stars,
All pain and peril of seraphic wars,
Were met to shape thy soul’s divinity.
Pause, for the breath of gods is on thy face!
The ghost of dawns forgotten and to be
Abides a moment in the twilight’s grace.
Sterling, George. The House of Orchids and Other Poems. (San Francisco: A. M. Robertson, 1911).
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