Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A ROMAN MIRROR, by JAMES RENNELL RODD

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A ROMAN MIRROR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: They found it in her hollow marble bed
Last Line: And sets the dead land lilies in her breast.
Alternate Author Name(s): Rennell, 1st Baron
Subject(s): Antiques; Mirrors

THEY found it in her hollow marble bed,
There where the numberless dead cities sleep,
They found it lying where the spade struck deep,
A broken mirror by a maiden dead.

These things -- the beads she wore about her throat
Alternate blue and amber all untied,
A lamp to light her way, and on one side
The toll men pay to that strange ferryboat.

No trace to-day of what in her was fair!
Only the record of long years grown green
Upon the mirror's lustreless dead sheen,
Grown dim at last, when all else withered there.

Dead, broken, lustreless! It keeps for me
One picture of that immemorial land,
For oft as I have held thee in my hand
The dull bronze brightens, and I dream to see

A fair face gazing in thee wondering wise,
And o'er one marble shoulder all the while
Strange lips that whisper till her own lips smile,
And all the mirror laughs about her eyes.

It was well thought to set thee there, so she
Might smooth the windy ripples of her hair
And knot their tangled waywardness, or ere
She stood before the queen Persephone.

And still it may be where the dead folk rest
She holds a shadowy mirror to her eyes,
And looks upon the changelessness, and sighs
And sets the dead land lilies in her breast.

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