The Rue-Anemone

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Under an oak-tree in a woodland, where
The dreaming Spring had dropped it from her hair,
I found a flower, through which I seemed to gaze
Beyond the world and see what no man dare
Behold and live the myths of bygone days
Diana and Endymion, and the bare
Slim beauty of the boy whom Echo wooed;
And Hyacinthus whom Apollo dewed
With love and death: and Daphne, ever fair;
And that reed-slender girl whom Pan pursued.

I stood and gazed and through it seemed to see
The Dryad dancing by the forest tree,
Her hair wild blown: the Faun with listening ear,
Deep in the boscage, kneeling on one knee,
Watching the wandered Oread draw near,
Her wild heart beating like a honey-bee
Within a rose. All, all the myths of old,
All, all the bright shapes of the Age of Gold,
Peopling the wonder-worlds of Poetry,
Through it I seemed in fancy to behold.

What other flower, that, fashioned like a star,
Draws its frail life from earth and braves the war
Of all the heavens, can suggest the dreams
That this suggests? in which no trace of mar
Or soil exists: where stainless innocence seems
Enshrined; and where, beyond our vision far,
That inaccessible beauty, which the heart
Worships as truth and holiness and art,
Is symbolized; wherein embodied are
The things that make the soul's immortal part.

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