A Dream of Defeated Beauty

by AE
All day they played in gardens hid amid golden towers
That made the blue burn deeper above their world of flowers.
Within their dream-girt gardens the pools drank in the sky
And the light laughing figures that flamed or fluttered by.
There lute or harp string sounded from noon to eventide,
And every voice that murmured a mirror was to pride.
All day on light and music the young queen feasted deep:
Her happy heart foretelling the hour of love and sleep,
When he unto whose glory the earth made sacrifice
Would give all to make richer the dark of lovely eyes.
Within her palace chamber the purple slumbrous shade
At midnight slowly lightened where the young queen was laid;
And moonlight marbled over flower foam and jewel sheen
And carved in pearl and mystery the white limbs of the queen.
The young queen smiled in slumber as if in dream she knew
What dragons chained lay sleeping: what horns for battle blew:
And who would bow the genii from thrones of blinding fire
To send their airy children to dance at her desire.
The young queen paled in slumber as if she there had known
A majesty unbending on some unconquered throne.
Where had she soared in slumber? And who was this who came
Making the dusk all starry with plumes of magic flame?
Who mourned in lofty sorrow above the body's pride
“This Babylon that I have built” and bowed its head and sighed.
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