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Arthur Symons

Pastel: Masks and Faces

The light of our cigarettes
Went and came in the gloom:
It was dark in the little room.

Dark, and then, in the dark,
Sudden, a flash, a glow,
And a hand and a ring I know.

And then, through the dark, a flush
Ruddy and vague, the grace
(A rose!) of her lyric face.

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Toys

I have laid you away as we lay
The toys of a little dead child,
You know you are safe in my heart;
You know I have set you apart
In my heart, and hid you away,
Because joy that prattled and smiled
In the heart becomes grief to the heart,
Laying its youth away
With the toys of a little dead child.

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Venice

Water and marble and that silentness
Which is not broken by a wheel or hoof;
A city like a water-lily, less
Seen than reflected, palace wall and roof,
In the unfruitful waters motionless,
Without one living grass's green reproof;
A city without joy or weariness,
Itself beholding, from itself aloof.

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Love and Sleep

I have laid sorrow to sleep;
Love sleeps.
She who oft made me weep
Now weeps.

I loved, and have forgot,
And yet
Love tells me she will not
Forget.

She it was bid me go;
Love goes
By what strange ways, ah! no
One knows.

Because I cease to weep,
She weeps.
Here by the sea in sleep,
Love sleeps.

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Mauve, Black, and Rose

Mauve, black, and rose,
The veils of the jewel, and she, the jewel, a rose.

First, the pallor of mauve,
A soft flood flowing about the body I love.

Then, the flush of the rose,
A hedge of roses about the mystical rose.

Last, the black, and at last
The feet that I love, and the way that my love has passed.

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At Burgos

Miraculous silver-work in stone
Against the blue miraculous skies,
The belfry towers and turrets rise
Out of the arches that enthrone
That airy wonder of the skies.

Softly against the burning sun
The great cathedral spreads its wings;
High up, the lyric belfry sings.
Behold Ascension Day begun
Under the shadow of those wings!

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Love in Autumn

It is already Autumn, and not in my heart only,
The leaves are on the ground,
Green leaves untimely browned,
The leaves bereft of Summer, my heart of Love left lonely.

Swift, in the masque of seasons, the moment of each mummer,
And even so fugitive
Love's hour, Love's hour to live:
Yet, leaves, ye have had your rapture, and thou, poor heart, thy Summer!

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Veneta Marina

The masts rise white to the stars,
White on the night of the sky,
Out of the water's night,
And the stars lean down to them white.
Ah! how the stars seem nigh;
How far away are the stars!

And I too under the stars,
Alone with the night again,
And the water's monotone;
I and the night alone,
And the world and the ways of men
Farther from me than the stars.

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Her Eyes Say Yes

Her eyes say Yes, her lips say No.
Ah, tell me, Love, when she denies,
Shall I believe the lips or eyes?
Bid eyes no more dissemble,
Or lips too tremble
The way her heart would go!

Love may be vowed by lips, although
Cold truth, in unsurrendering eyes,
The armistice of lips denies.
But can fond eyes dissemble,
Or false lips tremble
To this soft Yes in No?

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In Fountain Court

The fountain murmuring of sleep,
A drowsy tune;
The flickering green of leaves that keep
The light of June;
Peace, through a slumbering afternoon,
The peace of June.

A waiting ghost, in the blue sky,
The white curved moon;
June, hushed and breathless, waits, and I
Wait too, with June;
Come, through the lingering afternoon,
Soon, love, come soon.

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