The Sparrow

Catullus Consoles

B Y your ten thousand altar fires,
Your sweet, world-torturing desires,
If you were ever woman's friend,
Venus, your littlest cupids send
To bear upon his small, black bier,
To the hushed music of a tear,
In paced procession pausing slow,
Her sparrow Lesbia loved so!
Send your small children of desire
Whose tears shall quench the tiny pyre
Where an inch burst of flame shall burn
The Dead to ashes for his urn.
I'll have a black pearl hollowed out
And by a goldsmith hasped about
To hold in dainty ivory trust
This morsel of enamoured dust....
Dear, I've seen armies slain in flight
And cities that fell overnight,
But never darker woe than this:
No scales can balance woe and bliss:
A child that clasps a broken doll,
A king that weeps an empire's fall —
All grief is equal unto all!
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