(To Ellen Terry)
As one who poring on a Grecian urn
Scans the fair shapes some Attic hand hath made,
God with slim goddess, goodly man with maid,
And for their beauty’s sake is loth to turn
And face the obvious day, must I not yearn
For many a secret moon of indolent bliss,
When in midmost shrine of Artemis
I see thee standing, antique-limbed, and stern?
And yet – methinks I’d rather see thee play
That serpent of old Nile, whose witchery
Made Emperors drunken, – come, great Egypt, shake
Our stage with all thy mimic pageants! Nay,
I am grown sick of unreal passions, make
The world thine Actium, me thine Anthony!