The Unmerciful Mistress

Clark Ashton Smith

Austerest Beauty, terrible, sublime,
Has claimed my lips with solemn kiss of snow;
Now through my harp the tremors come and go
Of things not stirred with urgencies of Time.
Now must I tread the snows of lonely moons;
Pale rigors of dead planets desert-girt
Enthrall my dreams--solicitous, alert
To keenest colours of supernal moons.

Lo, in her praise, the stern, the fearful one,
Whose love is as the light of snows afar,
Whose ways are difficult, what word shall be?
I, desolate with Beauty, and undone,
Say Death is not so strong to change or mar,
And Love and Life not so desired as she.

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