The Sorceress

Give me the good sun streaming through
    Glimmering glades of yew,
And the cool grass, and one chaste shrine
    That pious hands have builded;
    And, oiled and scented, curled and gilded,
A virgin, swimming like new wine
    In my grey old soul, that I may give
    His life to Pan, and live!

I have seen Love, and known
    A blasphemy, a violation
    And perfect profanation;
Wherefore the god hath flown.
    My heart no longer trembles
If that blind Harper—blind, or he dissembles!—
    Touches its strings with burning finger-tips,
    Or fastens his soft lips
About my soul. . . . Then what is left
To a woman love-bereft?

I have tasted Passion; I have known
    How the sharpness and the softness and the sweetness
    Mix to one pomegranate’s completeness
Wherein Hell and Earth are shown. {103}
Oh fruit forbid! was there but one ripe tree
    Fruitful for me?
Passion is gone—the wine is spilt
And the sword broken at the hilt.

I have invoked the demon of debauch.
    All blinding wines, all soul-devouring crimes
    I have called to me, drilled the scarlet mimes
Of murder to my own fantastic nautch.
    And now-these demons mock me; for their pay
    They sucked my inmost soul away;
And—naught may move me—I am lost,
Exenterate, exhaust!

So therefore, Pan! a corpse I come before thee
    To call down Life from thine abode beyond Death.
    Three times I circle thee: three times my breath
Breathes on thy mouth; three times I do adore Thee,
    Till thine eyes glitter and thy loose lips curl
    Make me the innocent alluring girl
Of fifteen years—that were! so to recoil
The same sweet garland. . . . Hither comes the lad
With shy looks—let me blind him, let me soil
    His swan-soft body and his soul swan-pure!
        Ah! but my life is glad.
        Pan smiles! My suit preferred.
    Now, let these eyes allure
And this worn throat throb, thrill with songs to woo him,
    Fiercer than ever mortal heard. . . .
Ha! to him!


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