By Maurice Baring
BECAUSE she listened to the quiring spheres
We thought she did not hear our homely strings ;
Stars diademed her hair in misty rings,
Too late we understood those stars were tears.
Without she was a temple pure as snow,
Within were piteous flames of sacrifice ;
And underneath the dazzling mask of ice
A heart of swiftest fire was dying slow.
She in herself, as lonely lilies fold
Stiff silver petals over secret gold,
Shielded her passion, and remained afar
From pity :—Cast red roses on the pyre !
She that was snow shall rise to Heaven as fire
In the still glory of the morning star.
You were the Queen of evening, and the skies
Were soft above you, knowing you were fair,
With Sunset’s dewy gold about your hair,
And Twilight in the stillness of your eyes.
You did not know your dear divinity,
And, childlike, all unconscious that you walked
In a high, mystic space, you smiled and talked,
And stooped to pluck a rose and give it me.
As at the gate of Heaven an angel-child
Might wonder at an outcast’s pleading gaze,
An outcast kneeling at the golden bars,
And say : ” Come be my playmate, here the days
Are longer and the ways outside are wild,
And you shall play with suns and silver stars.”
Baring, Maurice. “Two Sonnets.” The Yellow Book, vol. 8, January 1896, pp. 297-98. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020. https://1890s.ca/baring_sonnets