I.Fair-tinted cheeks, clear eyelids drawn
In crescent curves above the light
Of eyes, whose dim, uncertain dawn
Becomes not day: a forehead white
Beneath long yellow heaps of hair:
She is so strange she must be fair.
II.Had she sharp, slant-wise wings outspread,
She were an angel; but she stands
With flat dead gold behind her head,
And lilies in her long thin hands:
Her folded mantle, gathered in,
Falls to her feet as it were tin.
III.Her nose is keen as pointed flame;
Her crimson lips no thing express;
And never dread of saintly blame
Held down her heavy eyelashes:
To guess what she were thinking of,
Precludeth any meaner love.
IV.An azure carpet, fringed with gold,
Sprinkled with scarlet spots, I laid
Before her straight, cool feet unrolled:
But she nor sound nor movement made
(Albeit I heard a soft, shy smile,
Printing her neck a moment’s while);
V.And I was shamed through all my mind
For that she spake not, neither kissed,
But stared right past me. Lo! behind
Me stood, in pink and amethyst,
Sword-girt and velvet-doubleted,
A tall, gaunt youth, with frowzy head,
VI.Wide nostrils in the air, dull eyes,
Thick lips that simpered, but, ah me!
I saw, with most forlorn surprise,
He was the Thirteenth Century,
I but the Nineteenth: then despair
Curdled beneath my curling hair.
VII.O, Love and Fate! How could she choose
My rounded outlines, broader brain,
And my resuscitated Muse?
Some tears she shed, but whether pain
Or joy in him unlocked their source,
I could not fathom which, of course.
VIII.But I from missals, quaintly bound,
With cither and with clavichord
Will sing her songs of sovran sound:
Belike her pity will afford
Such faint return as suits a saint
So sweetly done in verse and paint.