Ernest Christopher Dowson (2 August 1867 – 23 February 1900 / London / England)
Ad Manus Puellae
I was always a lover of ladies' hands!
Or ever mine heart came here to tryst,
For the sake of your carved white hands' commands;
The tapering fingers, the dainty wrist;
The hands of a girl were what I kissed.
I remember an hand like a _fleur-de-lys_
When it slid from its silken sheath, her glove;
With its odours passing ambergris:
And that was the empty husk of a love.
Oh, how shall I kiss your hands enough?
They are pale with the pallor of ivories;
But they blush to the tips like a curled sea-shell:
What treasure, in kingly treasuries,
Of gold, and spice for the thurible,
Is sweet as her hands to hoard and tell?
I know not the way from your finger-tips,
Nor how I shall gain the higher lands,
The citadel of your sacred lips:
I am captive still of my pleasant bands,
The hands of a girl, and most your hands.
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