The Fair Queen in Her Youth

 

I

In phantasy of daydream half untrue
You can espy the Dame of Nature’s bourn:
She cared for every wight ’neath canvas blue,
And crossed thru wand’ring wood that now doth mourn.
Her once-fair hands encompassed foal and fawn,
Graceful locks that held rough totems entwyned
Like honeycombe and petals from her lawn;
In youthful grasp she held the trees aligned.
The world was then unformed, unharrow’d, kind;
Sun shone upon her golden face, enlit
By Hebe’s glow and her playful ivy’s bind;
By the gentle rain was she oft bespit.
      So young was she that jewels did fleck her eyes,
      And watched was she by all her Nature’s spies.

 

II

Still resting by the windowsill of dream,
Beseech her now an audience to speak:
So weak her ears may wane, it may not seem
That the Queen would speak so; by her crook’d creek
Time captures breaths so soft and slender, meek.
When you wex woeful to ween lost delight
Fallen from the Fair Queen’s brow, you may seek
The will to restore them true: journey night
Through moonlit groves and scale far foggy height;
But tho you may seek to restore her crown—
Oak coronall yron ’bove amber sight
Is fading fast, as is her lily gown.
     Now turned to red, her leaves predict a fall:
     The hope that Winter steals not Beauty’s all.

 

III

Lay down and rest, O Queen, throw true thy beam,
For no other being holds flawless gleam
That glitters near my eyes, and strikes me blind:
Thy changing form is ever new in mind,
The perfections of thine are sensate signed;
Let down thy hair, in tempestuous ream,
Where moon’s moths, thy bounty, forever teem.
The rising bound’ry of thy bloss’mous breast;
Forlorne desire ensews for thy sweet creste—
And tho we keepe thy love, we thus sequest.
Last glimpse before the vision ends its stream:
Thou seest fading orchard, all enshrined—
     Time bids thee well, Titania: ’tis God’s truth;
     For even Gods must bid farewell to Youth.

 

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