Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NARCISSUS, by PAUL VALERY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

NARCISSUS, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Sad lilies, o my brothers, lorn I languish here
Last Line: Pour for the moon thy tears in silver urns afar.
Subject(s): Mythology - Classical; Narcissus (mythology)

SAD lilies, O my brothers, lorn I languish here
To be desired in all your nakedness sincere,
And unto you, O Nymphs, Nymphs of the placid pool,
I come in this sweet calm my burning tears to cool,
Since now the sun's glad hymns are mute!

. . . 'Tis twilight now.
I hear the grass of gold pulse in the holy shade,
And there the faithless moon her mirror low doth bow
Whenas the fountain sleeps by silent Night bewrayed.
'Mid these harmonious reeds I languish and I lie,
Amate for my sad loveliness your waters by,
O sapphire immemorial, fount sublime,
Where I forgot the laughter of the antique time.

Needs must I weep your light, ethereal yet dire,
O baleful source and spring of my predestined tears,
Where once my mortal eyes with azure caught the fire
Of my own form becrowned with flowers like gossameres.
Still is the image sweet. Alas, eternal too
My tears. O'er these fraternal flowers and coverts blue
A light streams once again of virgin amethyst
-- Enough, ah, yes, enough for me to still divine
In this wan glass my love, whose glisters too have wist.
Pale amethyst, O Glass of this mad dream of mine!

Upon the flood my form of moon-sheen and of dew
Is lifted by the fountain, mocking me anew.
I trace my argent arms with lines alive and pure;
In gold my hands droop down with limp and languid grace
To seize my captive love, whose lips the leaves enlace,
While I invoke with echoes deities obscure.

Farewell, Reflection lost within the limpid wave!
Narcissus, yet is not the ultimate hour a balm
Unto the riven heart? With rose-leaves now embalm
The open tomb for spirits wistfulness shall lave.

Oh, let my lip now be the rose that kisses showers
That here the shade may sleep, lapped in a peaceful dream.
Night in an undertone speaks, lone and far away,
Unto the chalices filled up with pallid hours;
The moon among the myrtles shines with wanton gleam.

O ever evanescent, still, still must I stay.
Ripe flesh blooms for the solitude and sadly burns,
Admiring yet its visage beside the sleeping ferns.
O Form of Youth and Love, Desire's Epitome!
The last delusive hour unto the dream must be
The sweetest. In the wood, ah, now, what grim delight!
Say now:" Adieu!" Narcissus -- this or die. The dawn
Approacheth and the flute o'er azure, wreathed with lawn,
Throbs sonorous regrets that to the hills take flight.

O Beauty chaste as Eve, in thy still reverie,
Beside this jewelled marge, Beloved, take from me
This kiss of holy night, tender indeed, yet death
Unto the dream, whose hope the crystal shattereth!

Nurse thy caress and go, O my exiled heart,
And thou, O lonely flute, in secret and apart,
Pour for the moon thy tears in silver urns afar.

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