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First Line: The lips so apt for deeds of passion
Last Line: Before the last act of the play, %from its unlovely ending
Alternate Author Name(s): Auden, W. H.

THE lips so apt for deeds of passion
The hair to stifle a man's breath
The symmetry of form beneath
An Irish mackintosh, the wild
Defiant pupils of a child.
The gods responsible for these
Whatever else to blame one sees
Were artists in their fashion.
But left the signature unwritten
Too early tired; 'twas strange to botch
A masterpiece, but we who watch
Horizons to redress the wrong
See only Götterdämmerung.
Not one of us, except in dreams,
Can alter by a word it seems
The story that is written,
Which has no happy marriage-ending.
A story, which we know, will fail
To turn romantic fairy tale,
For neither friendliness nor tears
Have hands to push away the years,
We can but turn our eyes away
Before the last act of the play
And its unlovely ending.

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