WHY does great beauty waken in the soul,
Together with the pleasure it inspires,
Sadness and inaccessible desires?—
Why, in our joy anticipating dole,
Ask we for lovely things a lasting goal,
Though knowing well their destiny requires
That, wasted and consumed by their own fires,
They pay on earth, full soon, Death's heavy toll?
Nay, love! The seed may fail within the sod,
But beauty fails not; though it seem to die,
It lights a quenchless torch in Hades' portal:
A gift benignant as a smile of God,
Through myriad fading forms it mounts on high,
And at the last creates beauty that is immortal!