Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN TO HER LOVER, by RACHEL ANNAND TAYLOR



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A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN TO HER LOVER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When my heart breaketh with felicity
Last Line: "farewell, farewell, for evermore farewell!"
Subject(s): Absence; Hearts; Kisses; Love; Passion; Separation; Isolation


WHEN my heart breaketh with felicity,
When Love hath overstrung his lute, and when
Thy dear, dear hands and delicate I draw
Upon my flickering eyelids till I die;—
In olive, oak, nor cedar shut me in,
Build me a sepulchre of saffron flame.

Ah! shall my long fine fingers, made to play
The king's own virginals, the king's own soul,
My silk-shod feet that tread such measures out
Over the crimson roses and the white,—
O Love!—my lips, my sombre star-lit eyes,
So sacro-sanct with kisses that transcend

All other miracles of life and death,
By lewd and loathed and burrowing things be known?
And shall the blindworm ravel and undo
The love-spun web of that same sumptuous hair
Thou crownest as with stars, I think? (Poor gold!
It would the longest suffer all that wrong!)
Shall nameless lives invade my regal peace,
And play the courtesan—Oh! in my breast!—
Thy garden to thee, Lord of the Lilies?—No!

While violin on violin laments,
To fire resign me, beautiful, fierce, and pure,
And fatal as a star, a sword, or Thou.
Burn me with amber, nard, and albanum
And passionate myrrh. So, not akin to those
Who agonise from out the clinging clay,

Yea, slowly writhe from the dim charnel-house,
Clogged and impierced by memories obscene;
But sifted, plumed, aspirant, followed hard
By great bright angels,—Flame, and Scent, and Sound,
And Ecstasy, my phœnix soul must pass
From Splendour to Splendour by the gates of fire.

Then in an antique ossuary shed
The drifted dust,—then bow thine head, and cry:
"O Love I loved, farewell!
Farewell, farewell, for evermore farewell!"





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