To a Picture of Eleonora Duse in "The Dead City"

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by Sara Teasdale


Your face is set against a fervent sky,
Before the thirsty hills that sevenfold
Return the sun's hot glory, gold on gold,
Where Agamemnon and Cassandra lie.
Your eyes are blind whose light shall never die,
And all the tears the closèd eyelids hold,
And all the longing that the eyes have told,
Is gathered in the lips that make no cry.
Yea, like a flower within a desert place,
Whose petals fold and fade for lack of rain,
Are these, your eyes, where joy of sight was slain,
And in the silence of your lifted face,
The cloud is rent that hides a sleeping race,
And vanished Grecian beauty lives again.


Carved in the silence by the hand of Pain,
And made more perfect by the gift of Peace,
Than if Delight had bid your sorrow cease,
And brought the dawn to where the dark has lain,
And set a smile upon your lips again;
Oh strong and noble! Tho' your woes increase,
The gods shall hear no crying for release,
Nor see the tremble that your lips restrain.
Alone as all the chosen are alone,
Yet one with all the beauty of the past;
A sister to the noblest that we know,
The Venus carved in Melos long ago,
Yea, speak to her, and at your lightest tone,
Her lips will part and words will come at last.

Sonnets to Duse and other Poems 021.png

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