To Beauty

By William Stanley Braithwaite

O mistress of the world! Heaven’s own dear child!
Priestess of Joy, and things that holy are;
Under thy smile men’s hearts are reconciled,
And after thy light, they follow, as a star
Follows the moon across the tide
A constant wooer at its side.
And I will follow, follow thee so far
Across the tide of life, and will adore
And worship thee in visions evermore.
O Maiden of shy innocence I say
Thou art too fair to live in widowhood;
Since Keats, thy lover, sleeps in Roman clay,
For thee to be forsaken were not good.
I fain would be thy wooer,
Thou canst not find one truer,
For I will love thee in whatever mood
Thy sensitive and most delicate soul
Doth on my spirit work its sweet control.
And it shall nevermore be truly said
The glory of the world hath passed away;
Ah, no! the heart of dreams shall raise its head
And Poesy again will hold her sway.
Oh, give me power to teach
The wonder of thy speech,
And give thy heavenly message to our day:
For the barren hearts of men have need
Of the humane influence of thy creed.

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