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SHE wore purple, and when other people slept

She stept lightly lightly in her ruby powdered slippers

Along the flags of the East portico.
And the moon slowly rifting the heights of cloud
Touched her face so that she bowed
Her head, and held her hand to her eyes
To keep the white shining from her. And she was wise,
For gazing at the moon was like looking on her own dead face

Passing alone in a wide place,
Chill and uncosseted, always above
The hot protuberance of life. Love to her
Was morning and a great stir
Of trumpets and tire-women and sharp sun.

As she had begun, so she would end,

Walking alone to the last bend

Where the portico turned the wall.

And her slipper's sound

Was scarce as loud upon the ground

As her tear's fall.

Her long white fingers crisped and clung

Each to each, and her weary tongue

Rattled always the same cold speech:

Gold was not made to lie in grass,

Silver dints at the touch of brass,

The days pass.


Lightly, softly, wearily,
The lady paces, drearily
Listening to the half-shrill croon
Leaves make on a moony Autumn night
When the windy light
Runs over the ivy eerily.

A branch at the corner cocks an obscene eye

As she passes passes by, and by

A hand stretches out from a column's edge,

Faces float in a phosphorent wedge

Through the points of arches, and there is speech

In the carven roof -groins out of reach.

A love-word, a lust-word, shivers and mocks

The placid stroke of the village clocks.

Does the lady hear?

Is any one near?

She jeers at life, must she wed instead

The cold dead?

A marriage-bed of moist green mold,

With an over-head tester of beaten gold.

A splendid price for a splendid scorn,

A tombstone pedigree snarled with thorn

Clouding the letters and the fleur-de-lis,

She will have them in granite for her heart's chill ease.

I set the candle in a draught of air

And watched it swale to the last thin flair.

They laid her in a fair chamber hung with arras,

And they wept her virgin soul.

The arras was woven of the story of Minos and Dictynna.
But I grieved that I could no longer hear the shuffle of

her feet along the portico,
And the ruffling of her train against the stones.