The Laurel in the Generalife Garden

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The Laurel in the Generalife Garden
by Théophile Gautier, translated by Frederic Cesar De Sumichrast and Agnes Lee
From the French Le Laurier du Generalife.

In the Generalife a lovely laurel,
    Gay as victory and glad as love,
Bathes its boughs in fountain mists auroral,
Hides a pearl within each bloom of coral.
    And the green earth smiles to heaven above.

Like a blushing girl elate and slender,
    Tint of flesh it taketh with the spring;
Like an odalisk in her nude splendour,
Waiting by the water, flushed and tender,
    Ready for her fair apparelling.

Beauteous laurel! Many a mystic hour
    Have I rested me beside its form,
Sealed my lips upon its precious flower —
Sweet red mouth! — and, thrilling to its power,
    Felt it give me back my kisses warm.