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.