The Love of Illusion
When I watch you go by, in all your indolence,
To sound of instruments within the echoing hall
Suspending your appeal of lingering harmony,
And showing in your glance the ennui of your soul;
And when I contemplate, in colouring flames of gas,
Your pallid brow enhanced with a morbidity,
Where torches of the evening light a promised dawn,
Abd your alluring eyes, a master's artistry,
I think, how lovely! and how oddly innocent!
Massive remembrance, that great tower raised above,
Crowns her, and oh, her heart, bruised like a softened peach,
Is mellow, like her body, ripe for skilful love.
Are you the fruit of fall, when flavour is supreme?
Funeral vase, that waits for tears in darkened rooms,
Perfume that brings the far oases to our dreams,
Caressing pillow, or a basket of fresh blooms?
I know that there are eyes, the finest and most sad,
That hide no precious secrets, neither truths nor lies;
Handsome, like empty lockets, caskets without jewels,
More empty, more profound, than you yourselves, o skies!
But is it not enough that your appearance can
Restore to joy a heart that flees from what is true?
What if you are inane, what if indifferent!
Mask, decoration, hail! Beauty, I worship you!
Přeložil James McGowan