To Eleonora Duse

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by Sara Teasdale

Oh beauty that is filled so full of tears,
Where every passing anguish left its trace,
I pray you grant to me this depth of grace:
That I may see before it disappears,
Blown through the gateway of our hopes and fears
To death's insatiable last embrace,
The glory and the sadness of your face,
Its longing unappeased through all the years.
No bitterness beneath your sorrow clings;
Within the wild dark falling of your hair
There lies a strength that ever soars and sings;
Your mouth's mute weariness is not despair.
Perhaps among us craven earth-born things
God loves its silence better than a prayer.

Your beauty lives in mystic melodies,
And all the light about you breathes a song.
Your voice awakes the dreaming airs that throng
Within our music-haunted memories:
The sirens' strain that sank within the seas
When men forgot to listen, floats along
Your voice's undercurrent soft and strong.
Sicilian shepherds pipe beneath the trees;
Along the purple hills of drifted sand,
A lone Egyptian plays an ancient flute;
At dawn the Memnon gives his old salute
Beside the Nile, by desert breezes fanned.
The music faints about you as you stand,
And with the Orphean lay it trembles mute.


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