"Is she still beautiful?" I asked of one
Who of the unforgotten faces told
That for long years I had not looked upon -
"Beautiful still - but she is growing old";
And for a space I sorrowed, thinking on
That face of April gold.
Then up the summer night the moon arose,
Glassing her sacred beauty in the sea,
That ever at her feet in silver flows;
And with her rising came a thought to me -
How ever old and ever young she grows,
And still more lovely she.
Thereat I smiled, thinking on lovely things
That dateless and immortal beauty wear,
Whereof the song immortal tireless sings,
And Time but touches to make lovelier;
On Beauty sempiternal as the Spring's -
So old are all things fair.
Then for that face I cast aside my fears,
For changing Time is Beauty's changeless friend,
That never reaches but for ever nears,
Tireless the old perfections to transcend,
Fairness more fair to fashion with the years,
And loveliest to end.