A poem by Sidney Lanier

A rose of perfect red, embossed
With silver sheens of crystal frost,
Yet warm, nor life nor fragrance lost.

High passion throbbing in a sphere
That Art hath wrought of diamond clear,
- A great heart beating in a tear.

The listening soul is full of dreams
That shape the wondrous-varying themes
As cries of men or plash of streams.

Or noise of summer rain-drops round
That patter daintily a-ground
With hints of heaven in the sound.

Or noble wind-tones chanting free
Through morning-skies across the sea
Wild hymns to some strange majesty.

O, if one trope, clear-cut and keen,
May type the art of Song's best queen,
White-hot of soul, white-chaste of mien,

On Music's heart doth Nilsson dwell
As if a Swedish snow-flake fell
Into a glowing flower-bell.

New York, 1871.

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