The Long Room

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

He found the long room as it was of old,
Glimmering with sunset's gold;
That made the tapestries seem full of eyes
Strange with a wild surmise:
Glaring upon a Psyche where she shone
Carven of stainless stone,
Holding a crystal heart where many a sun
Seemed starrily bound in one:
And near her, grim in rigid metal, stood
An old knight in a wood,
Groping his way: the bony wreck, that was
His steed, at weary pause.
And over these a canvas one mad mesh
Of Chrysoprase tints of flesh
And breasts Bohemian cups, whose glory gleamed
For one who, brutish, seemed
A hideous Troll, unto whose lustful arms
She yielded glad her charms.
Then he remembered all her shame; and knew
The thing that he must do:
These were but records of his life: the whole
Portrayed to him his soul.
So, drawing forth the slim Bithynian phial,
He drained it with a smile.
And 'twixt the Knight and Psyche fell and died;
The arras, evil-eyed,
Glared grimly at him where all night he lay,
And where a stealthy ray
Pointed her to him her, that nymph above,
Who gave the Troll her love.

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