To One Absent

Clark Ashton Smith

Return, to save me still from her,
The false and barren comforter,
Who wears in vain thy spectral mien
Amid the desert of my dearth—.
That ancient empress of the earth,
That lethal and immortal queen.

Return, to take this empty hand
And lead me in that longed-for land
Where still the years of Saturn roam;
Where satyrs rob the purpling vine
And the green-fruited laurels shine
Against the siren-cloven foam.

Return, with all the ancient loves,
Like Venus and her circling doves,
With Cyprian cinctures to unweave,
And snatches of some Lesbian air
To lighten this my long despair
Upon a saffron-bordered eve.

Return, to be the Muse of old
In songs and paeans manifold;
The sorceress of a secret garth

Distilling balms and philters sweet;
Bacchante, dancing on wild feet;
And goddess of the glowing hearth.

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