To my Sister

By George Sterling

O face where light and roses stir,
    As bloomed on younger skies
The cloudland gardens faint that were
    The dawn in Paradise!

What fanes of love—ere life be done—
    What hearts shall hold thee fair,
Child of a line whose setting sun
    Is yellow on thy hair?

What love shall wake thy dreaming breast.
    Controlling thee in fears?—
Too young to know the heart's unrest,
    Too innocent for tears!

I fain in. seasons yet untold
    Would stand thy trust and guard,
As one that, hopeless, longs to hold
    Thy virgin hopes unmarred.

Joy is the pledge of grief to be,
    A surety of the way
That leads to loneliness for thee,
    Who art so glad to-day.

For Beauty waits, and helpless waits,
    A heritage of woe;
She may not find pacific Fates,
    Nor years untroubled know.

And certain as the fine and pure
    Accord their gift of fair,
So sure must Sorrow wake, so sure
    Must come the feet of Care.

Swift on the glory of the dream
    The barren dawn must spring;
Not without shadow comes the gleam
    Of any perfect thing.

Not they that grant us Beauty's light
    Its deeper joy attain,
Since only worlds in outer night
    The star's irradiance gain.

I deem it sad that Time should mar
    A thing as fair as thou,
Or dim with years the locks that are
    A light above thy brow.

But on the paths that wait thy feet
    Unfriendly powers conspire;
The days thy heart shall find so sweet
    Are wonderful but dire;

The winds of Eden stir the rose
    In gardens glad and strange,
Lost isles where Youth enchanted goes,
    Nor dreams of care and change.

Life fashions, and in mystery,
    A lure for Love's young eyes—
Fond Love, who changeless hopes to see
    That rainbow on the skies!

Ah, holiness of beauty! lent
    To mortals' undesert—
How far thy glories from content,
    And with what peril girt!

May, 1902.

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