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A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

After Tibullus

Title:     After Tibullus
Author: Richard Le Gallienne [More Titles by Le Gallienne]

Illius est nobis lege colendus amor

On her own terms, O lover, must thou take
The heart's beloved: be she kind, 'tis well,
Cruel, expect no more; not for thy sake
But for the fire in thee that melts her snows
For a brief spell
She loves thee--"loves" thee! Though thy heart should break,
Though thou shouldst lie athirst for her in hell,
She could not pity thee: who of the Rose,
Or of the Moon, asks pity, or return
Of love for love? and she is even as those.
Beauty is she, thou Love, and thou must learn,
O lover, this:
Thine is she for the music thou canst pour
Through her white limbs, the madness, the deep dream;
Thine, while thy kiss
Can sweep her flaming with thee down the stream
That is not thou nor she but merely bliss;
The music ended, she is thine no more.

In her Eternal Beauty bends o'er thee,
Be thou content;
She is the evening star in thy hushed lake
Mirrored,--be glad;
A soul-less creature of the element,
Nor good, nor bad;
That which thou callest to in the far skies
Comes to thee in her eyes;
That thou mayst slake
Thy love of lilies, lo! her breasts! Be wise,
Ask not that she, as thou, should human be,
She that doth smell so sweet of distant heaven;
Pity is mortal leaven,
Dews know it not, nor morning on the hills,
And who hath yet found pity of the sea
That blesses, knowing not, and, not knowing, kills;
And sister unto all of these is she,
Whose face, as theirs, none reads; whose heart none knows;
Whose words are as the wind's words, and whose ways,
O lover, learn,
Swerve not, or turn
Aside for prayers, or broken-hearted praise:
The young moon looks not back as on she goes.
On their own terms, O lover!--Girl, Moon, Rose.

[The end]
Richard Le Gallienne's poem: After Tibullus