The Accademia of Florence
A SIMPLE lady full of heavy thought :
Behind her neck the myrtle-bowers lie cold ;
Her robe is white, her carmine mantle rolled
And lifted on her arm that beareth nought :
A flame-tipped arrow in its arc is brought
Above by Eros ; ornaments of gold
Are crossed chainwise about her chest to hold
The unfilled breasts ; her right hand as she sought
To bless is lifted and then stays at pause
As fearful to cast sorrow for delight
On her girl-votaries. Must her coming cause
Their stately freedom quite to disappear ?
Brings Love in truth a bitterness to blight
The yet unstricken gladness of the year ?
Or is it Destiny that doth compel
Her hand to stay its blessing ? On her right
Three virgins, flowerless, slow of step, unite
In dance, as they were guided by the spell
Of some Choragus imperceptible :
Beside them Hermes lifts his wand to smite
An orange from the bough ; they keep in sight
The severing of the golden fruit for hell.
What boots it therefore that so light of breath
Comes Flora, from her lapfull tossing flowers,
Come Zephyrus and fleeing nymph, if these
Are travelling wanton toward the infernal powers ;
If the stern Moirai move beneath the trees
With eyes fixed on the harbinger of death ?