Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SORCERESS OF THE MOON, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SORCERESS OF THE MOON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Its gates are griffin-guarded gates
Last Line: The sorceress of the moon!
Subject(s): Buildings & Builders; Courts & Courtiers; Guard Duty; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens

Its gates are griffin-guarded gates,
Its towers of yellow marble hewn.
Resplendent glints each sparkling stud
Of rubies red as pigeon's blood,
Of pearls as white as the swan's neck,
Of diamonds without flaw or fleck
That crust its towers, and glitter thence
Along its cloudy battlements.
And far within its portals waits
The sorceress of the moon!

This palace I have seen afar
When crimson, gold, and purple cloud
Made all the west a blaze of flame,
Ere twilight from her cloisters came
To walk the heavens with nunlike pace
And downcast eyes and wistful face.
Then all its wonder crumbling lies
In splendid wreckage on the skies.
But now—ah, see! Its raptures rise
Impossible and proud.

So fling a bridle of delight
Upon the wildest dream of all,
And, as Mahomet 'strode the back
Of the white beast called Alborac,
We too shall thunder up the west
With rich caparison and crest,
Wind horn before those marvelous gates,
Daring their guard, and find who waits
Withdrawn in splendor infinite
In that vast presence-hall!

Her brows would make the calla gray.
Her hair is soft and dark as night.
Her purple dais canopy
Bears stars in golden broidery.
She wields a slight and silvern wand
To summon spirits from beyond.
And all the wandering winds in tune
Sing to the sorceress of the moon
With airiest music, and alway
Swoon in her haze of light.

Yet hers are griffin-guarded gates!
Minds in her presence madden soon!
Her gaze is strange: and to sustain
Her glamorous eyes means joy and pain
Mixed in such wise, the soul is caught
Spellbound, bewildered passing thought.
Oh, glance not long, but shun her sight
While still thy heart desires delight,
Where, deep within the sunset, waits
The sorceress of the moon!

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