Lais when Young

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   Lais when young, and all her charms in flower,
      Lais, whose beauty was the fateful light
         That led great ships to anchor in the night
   And bring their priceless cargoes to her bower,
   Lais yet found her cup of sweet turned sour.
      Great Plato’s pupil, from his lofty height,
      Zenocrates, unmoved, had seen the white
   Sweet wonder of her, and defied her power.

   She snared the world in nets of subtle wiles:
      The proud, the famed, all clamoured at her gate;
         Dictators plead, inside her portico;
   Wisdom sought madness, in her favouring smiles;
      Now was she made the laughing-stock of fate:
         One loosed her clinging arms, and bade her go.


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