Beauty (Trowbridge)

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Beauty (Trowbridge)
by John Townsend Trowbridge


 Fond lover of the Ideal Fair,
  My soul, eluded everywhere,
  Is lapsed into a sweet despair.
  Perpetual pilgrim, seeking ever,
  Baffled, enamored, finding never;
  Each morn the cheerful chase renewing,
  Misled, bewildered, still pursuing;
  Not all my lavished years have bought
  One steadfast smile from her I sought,
  But sidelong glances, glimpsing light,
  A something far too fine for sight,
  Veiled voices, far off thridding strains,
  And precious agonies and pains:
  Not love, but only love's dear wound
  And exquisite unrest I found.

  At early morn I saw her pass
  The lone lake's blurred and quivering glass;
  Her trailing veil of amber mist
  The unbending beaded clover kissed;
  And straight I hasted to waylay
  Her coming by the willowy way;--
  But, swift companion of the Dawn,
  She left her footprints on the lawn,
  And, in arriving, she was gone.
  Alert I ranged the winding shore;
  Her luminous presence flashed before;
  The wild-rose and the daisies wet
  From her light touch were trembling yet;
  Faint smiled the conscious violet;
  Each bush and brier and rock betrayed
  Some tender sign her parting made;
  And when far on her flight I tracked
  To where the thunderous cataract
  O'er walls of foamy ledges broke,
  She vanished in the vapory smoke.

  To-night I pace this pallid floor,
  The sparkling waves curl up the shore,
  The August moon is flushed and full;
  The soft, low winds, the liquid lull,
  The whited, silent, misty realm,
  The wan-blue heaven, each ghostly elm,
  All these, her ministers, conspire
  To fill my bosom with the fire
  And sweet delirium of desire.
  Enchantress! leave thy sheeny height,
  Descend, be all mine own this night,
  Transfuse, enfold, entrance me quite!
  Or break thy spell, my heart restore,
  And disenchant me evermore!

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.