Paean to Beauty
The trees in shade before the darkling sky
Toss about their leaves in the evening breeze;
Thin wisps of cloud, illumined from beneath
Drift lazily through the deep azure sky:
Now white, now burning red, now sinking low
Beneath the earth's edge, yellow and purple.
To the eye that looks, the eye that stands open,
There is no lack of wonders to behold.
Even amidst the ugliness and fumes
Of a rotting and decaying countryside,
Beauty still shines forth, ever herself.
I see her in the smile of a friend;
In the melancholy remembrance of past joys
She abides; and in the agonizing
Recollection of old sorrows now past
Both long since left behind and ever-fresh
There also has Beauty her dwelling-place.
The washed stones at the edge of the salt-sea:
They declare her no less loudly than these.
And the worn stones standing row on row,
Marking the resting-places of souls now at peace
These are not foreign to Beauty, nor was she
Foreign to those now interred deep below.
Beauty, the e