Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics

by Bliss Carman


 

XXXII


 

HEART of mine, if all the altars
Of the ages stood before me,
Not one pure enough nor sacred
Could I find to lay this white, white
    Rose of love upon.
5
 
I who am not great enough to
Love thee with this mortal body
So impassionate with ardour,
But oh, not too small to worship
    While the sun shall shine,—
10
 
I would build a fragrant temple
To thee, in the dark green forest,
Of red cedar and fine sandal,
And there love thee with sweet service
    All my whole life long.
15
 
I would freshen it with flowers,
And the piney hill-wind through it
Should be sweetened with soft fervours
Of small prayers in gentle language
    Thou wouldst smile to hear.
20

And a tinkling Eastern wind-bell,
With its fluttering inscription,
From the rafters with bronze music
Should retard the quiet fleeting
    Of uncounted hours. 
25

And my hero, while so human,
Should be even as the gods are,
In that shrine of utter gladness,
With the tranquil stars above it
    And the sea below.
30