Bathyllus

Enough of the frail aspergillus!
Enough of the censer of bronze!
Thy beauty, thy boy, thy Bathyllus,
Whose body is soft as a swan's,
Splendid and sinewy slim,
Cleanly and supple of limb,
Waits for the hush of the hymn.

O gather me up in the vigour
Of virile embraces, and bear
My youth to the rush and the rigour
Of marvellous mountainous air!
Pass through the cool colonnades!
Up through the gloom of the glades!
Up! we are done with the shades.

My head is an ocean in anger
With sleek and fantastical curls;
My lips like a sunset for languor,
My skin like a moonrise of pearls.
Ah! but like stars in the deep
Deep of the night, and asleep,
Are the eyes that await thee, and weep.
Comest thou not, O my master,
My God, my desirable one?
Each breath is a death, a disaster,
Till thou art arisen, O sun!
Why should I wait in the wild,
Who am thine, as a dove undefiled
In the arms of an ivory child?

My body is oiled and anointed
With dews of Thessalian bud;
My nails are all polished and pointed
And gilded, wherethrough is the blood
Like to a roseate stream
In the hills of the west set agleam
That flows in its channel of cream.

Let us drink, O my Lord, let us fill us
With purple Falernian wine!
Thy lips on the lips of Bathyllus
As we lock us and link and entwine,
Eyes ever burning like coals
For the passion that crowns and controls
The mystical love of our souls.

Then, O if my pain were to kill me!-
In the garden of music and musk
Touch thou-and the thoughts of it thrill me-
The poppy that flowers in the dusk!
Poppy whose blossom is furled
Deep in the breasts of the world-
Ah! but the heart is impearled!
Not babes to the war of the ages
Thy dews of devotion beget;
But thoughts that illumine the sages
Are flowers of our fashioning yet.
Music and song are thereof
Gotten, my god, and above
Love, the fulfilling of love.

Ah master! thy fire the enrichment
Of all the vain store of the shrine!
All mine to entice by bewitchment
The joy that is utterly thine!
Ah! but thou sailest, a swan
The lake that was waste and wan!

Oh now! let thy rage interrupt
My mischievous petulant smile
Whose secret is hot and corrupt,
Leers loose at the lips and is vile!
Tear off the virginal wreath!
Tear it with tigerish teeth!
Ten, oh the sword to its sheath!

Thine anger is redder and rougher;
Thou huntest with thyrsus and thong.
Ah God! it is I that must suffer,
For thee 'tis enough to be strong.
Strike! ere libation be spilt.
Home! through the grace of the gilt.
Stab! to the hilt! to the hilt!
Now, now, O my lover, be tender!
Break not the suspense of the swoon!
O my lily in pagan splendour
That throbs in the heart of the moon!
Ever the soul of me saith
Let me sink back into death! . . .

Hush me the heart of our breath!


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