Deep in my mirror's glossy plate


    …ἔσσα γεραιτέρα·

    DEEP in my mirror's glossy plate 
      Sweet converse oft I had 
    With beauty's self, then turned, elate, 
      To make my lovers glad ; 
    But now across the quivering glass 
    My lineaments shall never pass : 
    Let Aphrodite take the thing 
    My shadow is dishonouring. 

    Ah, fond and foolish, thou hast set 
      Aside the burnished gold, 
    But Phaon's eyes reflect thee yet 
      A woman somewhat old ! 
    He watched thee come across the street 
    To-day in the clear summer heat ; 
    And must he not perforce recall 
    How the sun limned thee on the wall ? 

    I sigh—no sigh her bosom smote 
      Who waited 'mid the crowd 
    Impatient for his ferry-boat, 
      An aged woman bowed 
    And desolate, till Phaon saw, 
    Turned swiftly, and with tender awe 
    Rowed her across, his strength subdued 
    To service of decrepitude. 

    Beneath a beggar's sorry guise, 
      O laughter-loving Queen, 
    Thy servant still must recognise 
      A goddess—pace and mien. 
    He loved thee in thy fading hair, 
    He felt thee great in thy despair, 
    Thy wide, blue, clouded eyes to him 
    Were beautiful, though stained and dim. 

    Daughter of Cyprus, take the disk 
      That pride and folly feeds ; 
    Like thee the glorious chance I risk, 
      And in time's tattered weeds, 
    Bearing of many a care the trace, 
    Trusting the poet's nameless grace, 
    Stand unabashed, serene, and dumb, 
    For Love to worship, if he come.