By George Sterling

From "Lilith"

            What is it in thy face
            That holds the hidden grace
                Of vanished years?
Sorrows in long-forgotten midnights tombed,
Beauty disastrous, tender, and foredoomed,
        For which the seas and suns are, and our tears.

            O turn thou swift to me,
            In whose great eyes I see
                All I have lost!
Beyond thy silence waits thy tenderness,
Beyond all pain thy lingering caress,
        The only rapture worthy of the cost.

            Say nothing, for I know!
            On the far path I go
                Thy love shall save.
Hath not today made beautiful the Past?
And when today is yesterday at last,
        Shall not we two remember all it gave?

            Ah, love! this hour, too fleet,
            Spreads purple for thy feet.
                The shadows close
Above the sunset ashes, ruby-embered;
And that old beauty lost in years remembered
        Returns in stillness, as a moon that grows.

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