|Cleopatra: Eighty and Eighteen, John William Godward, 1888.|
Into the mountains he went,
feeling his way with a staff;
until he reached a quiet nook
on a ridged peak, that was
sprinkled with snow, with air
so fresh with icy chill – and those
misty clouds encircled him.
‘Though them he could not see, but
only feel: it’s moistness on his skin
and smell of sharp and damp caress.
But then the sun tore through the mist
and his eyes were opened wide –
the scales falling down – for first time
he saw the brightness of the day!
Its panorama reclined
before him like Cleopatra,
as sea meets land, hills and fields
and woods and shades all green and purple,
which lay before his infant gaze
that drunk so deeply of nature’s draught
that he died right then and there.
Beauty killed him, delighted him dead,
by rushing on his heart and
ravishing his senses till they died –
too deep the wound, a wound that sighed
too deep for words – escaped the mind.
He fell with a smile unseen upon his face,
too broad the grin inside, that his mouth
couldn't stretch to meet such joy.
And so dead there he lay, beauty killed
him there, kissed him dead and stole his breath;
that blessed man – whose soul then soared
where saints sigh and swoon like waves
that plunge and dive eternally anew
in beauty ever ancient and ever new.