Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PHOENIX, FR. NEPENTHE, by GEORGE DARLEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE PHOENIX, FR. NEPENTHE, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: O blest unfabled incense tree
Last Line: A thirstier minstrel drew in me!
Variant Title(s): The Song Of The Phoenix
Subject(s): Phoenix (mythical Bird)

O blest unfabled Incense Tree,
That burns in glorious Araby,
With red scent chalicing the air,
Till earth-life grow Elysian there!

Half buried to her flaming breast
In this bright tree, she makes her nest,
Hundred-sunned Phoenix! when she must
Crumble at length to hoary dust!

Her gorgeous death-bed! her rich pyre
Burnt up with aromatic fire!
Her urn, sight high from spoiler men!
Her birth-place when self-born again!

The mountainless green wilds among,
Here ends she her unechoing song!
With amber tears and odorous sighs
Mourned by the desert where she dies!

Laid like the young fawn mossily
In sun-green vales of Araby,
I woke, hard by the Phoenix tree
That with shadeless boughs flames over me,
And upward called by a dumb cry
With moonbroad orbs of wonder, I
Beheld the immortal Bird on high
Glassing the great sun in her eye.
Steadfast she gazed upon his fire,
Still her destroyer and her sire!
As if to his her soul of flame
Had flown already, whence it came.
Like those that sit and glare so still,
Intense with their death struggle, till
We touch, and curdle at their chill! --
But breathing yet while she doth burn
The deathless Daughter of the sun!
Slowly to crimson embers turn
The beauties of the brightsome one.
O'er the broad nest her silver wings
Shook down their wasteful glitterings;
Her brinded neck high-arched in air
Like a small rainbow faded there;
But brighter glowed her plumy crown
Mouldering to golden ashes down;
With fume of sweet woods, to the skies,
Pure as a Saint's adoring sighs,
Warm as a prayer in Paradise,
Her life-breath rose in sacrifice!
The while with shrill triumphant tone
Sounding aloud, aloft, alone,
Ceaseless her joyful deathwail she
Sang to departing Araby!
Deep melancholy wondred drew
Tears from my heartspring at that view.
Like cresset shedding its last flare
Upon some wistful mariner,
The Bird, fast blenfing with the sky,
Turned on me her dead-gazing eye
Once -- and as surge to shallow spray
Sank down to vapoury dust away!

O, fast her amber blood doth flow
From the heart-wounded Incense Tree,
Fast as earth's deep-embosomed woe
In silent rivulets to the sea!

Beauty may weep her fair first-born,
Perchance in as resplendent tears,
Such golden dewdrops bow the corn
When the stern sickleman appears.

But oh! such perfume to a bower
Never allured sweet-sucking bee,
As to sip fast that nectarous shower
A thirstier minstrel drew in me!

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