The Dresden Gallery
GREY tower, green sea, dark armour and clear curves
Of shining flesh ; the tower built far into the sea
And the dark armour that of one coming to set her free
Who, white against the chamfered base,
From fetters that her noble limbs enlace
Bows to confer
Herself on her deliverer :
He, dazzled by the splendid gift,
Steadies himself against his oar, ere he is strong to lift
And strain her to his breast :
Her powerful arms lie in such heavy rest
Across his shoulder, though he swerves
And staggers with her weight, though the wave buoys,
Then slants the vessel, she maintains his form in poise.
Her sister-captive, seated on the side
Of the swayed gondola, her arched, broad back in strain,
Strikes her right ankle, eager to discumber it of chain,
Intent upon her work, as though
It were full liberty ungyved to go.
She will not halt,
But spring delighted to the salt,
When fetterless her ample form
Can beat the refluence of the waves back to their crested storm.
Has she indeed caught sight
Of that blithe tossing pinnace on the white
Scum of the full, up-bearing tide?
The rose-frocked rower-boy, in absent fit
Or modesty, surveys his toe and smiles at it.
Her bondage irks not ; she has very truth
Of freedom who within her lover's face can seek
For answer to her eyes, her breath, the blood within her cheek—
A soul so resolute to bless
She has forgot her shining nakedness
And to her peer
Presents immunity from fear :
As one half-overcome, half-braced,
The man's hand searches as he grips her undulating waist :
So these pure twain espouse
And without ravishment, mistrust, or vows
Of constancy fulfil their youth ;
In the rough niches of the wall behind
Their meeting heads, how close the trails of ivy wind !