A Winter Dawn

By George Sterling

Untouched by crimson or by gold,
    Its pure and fleeting marble rose
    Beyond the wall of eastern snows —
Ethereal, Pentelic, cold.

Its fragile towers were high and thin,
    Symbol of beauty passionless,
    Of all inviolate loveliness;
And not of earth the pearl therein—

The pearl too precious to endure,
    Seen where the heavens' ghostly shell
    Holds in its vast and sapphire cell
A nacre infinitely pure.

So the marmorean glory bleak
    Spoke of the snows of Beauty's home;
    Then that blue sea withdrew its foam,
And we that witnessed could not speak.

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