Lord Alfred Douglas

(1870 - 1945 / England)

The Garden Of Death - Poem by Lord Alfred Douglas

There is an isle in an unfurrowed sea
That I wot of, whereon the whole year round
The apple-blossoms and the rosebuds be
In early blooming ; and a many sound
Of ten-stringed lute, and most mellifluous breath
Of silver flute, and mellow half-heard horn,
Making unmeasured music. Thither Death
Coming like Love, takes all things in the morn
Of tenderest life, and being a delicate god,
In his own garden takes each delicate thing
Unstained, unmellowed, immature, untrod,
Tremulous betwixt the summer and the spring :
The rosebud ere it come to be a rose,
The blossom ere it win to be a fruit,
The virginal snowdrop, and the dove that knows
Only one dove for lover ; all the loot
Of young soft things, and all the harvesting
Of unripe flowers. Never comes the moon
To matron fulness, here no child-bearing
Vexes desire, and the sun knows no noon.
But all the happy dwellers of that place
Are reckless children gotten on Delight
By Beauty that is thrall to Death ; no grace,
No natural sweet they lack, a chrysolite
Of perfect beauty each. No wisdom comes
To mar their early folly, no false laws
Man-made for man, no mouthing prudence numbs
Their green unthought, or gives their licence pause ;
Young animals, young flowers, they live and grow,
And die before their sweet emblossomed breath
Has learnt to sigh save like a lover's. Oh !
How sweet is Youth, how delicate is Death !

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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