II

by Lewis Carroll
Empress of Art, for thee I twine
This wreath with all too slender skill.
Forgive my Muse each halting line,
And for the deed accept the will!
* * * *
O day of tears!  Whence comes this spectre grim,
Parting, like Death’s cold river, souls that love?
Is not he bound to thee, as thou to him,
By vows, unwhispered here, yet heard above?
And still it lives, that keen and heavenward flame,
Lives in his eye, and trembles in his tone:
And these wild words of fury but proclaim
A heart that beats for thee, for thee alone!
But all is lost: that mighty mind o’erthrown,
Like sweet bells jangled, piteous sight to see!
“Doubt that the stars are fire,” so runs his moan,
“Doubt Truth herself, but not my love for thee!”
A sadder vision yet: thine aged sire
Shaming his hoary locks with treacherous wile!
And dost thou now doubt Truth to be a liar?
And wilt thou die, that hast forgot to smile?
Nay, get thee hence!  Leave all thy winsome ways
And the faint fragrance of thy scattered flowers:
In holy silence wait the appointed days,
And weep away the leaden-footed hours.