The Evening Star

By George Sterling

Easttward in afterglow the mountains rise,
    An evanescent rose on granite fading—
    Far hues that sfem, a crystal silence aiding,
The walls of a deserted Paradise.

The sunset dies, with scarlet pinions furled. . . .
    On azure plains the sea-winds sink or falter. . . .
    Evening and ocean are thy shrine and altar,
O  grail of silver lifted to a world!

The wine of thy pure chalice none shall drain;
    But he that sees thy vesper glory burning
    Shall walk the purple of thy kingdom, spurning
All loveliness that haunts him without pain.

The mighty waters, darkening afar,
    Throng the grey shores with mournful voices calling.
    Echoes reply. Earth's shadow, eastward falling,
Is cold upon the pathway of the star,

The loneliness departing sunsets leave
    Is deeper for the vision of thy splendor,
    Whose radiance, ethereal and tender,
Burns tremorless upon the winter eve.

O flame above the Islands of the Blest!
    Often, ahl often, not alone in story.
    Have young Love's eyes been lifted to thy glory,
Yearning to follow thee beyond the West—

Yearning in vain, through all unhappy years:
    He shares with Beauty her inherent sorrow.
    As yesterday beheld, so must to-morrow
Behold thy light regathered by his tears.

The charts of sea and heavens limn thy flight,
    Yet still we seek a Land beyond, whose faces
    Forever gleam with thy mysterious traces—
Touched faintly by thy slowly setting light.

O Land that youth alone, or folly, seeks!
    A Shadowland, these many years forbidden,
    By sunset or the last horizon hidden,
And thou the fire above its altar-peaks.

So art thou light to that which only seems;
    So art thou symbol of another Setting
    To us, unfortunate and unforgetting,
Homesick for that lost country of our dreams.

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