Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
The Ivory Gate
Mortimer Collins (b. 1827)
        Sunt Geminae Somni Portae: Quarum Altera Fertur
Cornea; Qua Veris Facilis Datur Exitus Umbris:
Altera Candenti Perfecta Nitens Elephanto;
Sed Falsa Ad Coelum Mittunt Insomniac Manes.
WHEN, lov’d by poet and painter,
  The sunrise fills the sky,
When night’s gold urns grow fainter,
  And in depths of amber die—
When the morn-breeze stirs the curtain,        5
  Bearing an odorous freight—
Then visions strange, uncertain,
  Pour thick through the Ivory Gate.
Then the oars of Ithaca dip so
  Silently into the sea        10
That they wake not sad Calypso,
  And the Hero wanders free:
He breasts the ocean-furrows,
  At war with the words of Fate,
And the blue tide’s low susurrus        15
  Comes up to the Ivory Gate.
Or, clad in the hide of leopard,
  ’Mid Ida’s freshest dews,
Paris, the Teucrian shepherd,
  His sweet Oenone wooes:        20
On the thought of her coming bridal
  Unutter’d joy doth wait,
While the tune of the false one’s idyl
  Rings soft through the Ivory Gate.
Or down from green Helvellyn        25
  The roar of streams I hear,
And the lazy sail is swelling
  To the winds of Windermere:
That girl with the rustic bodice
  ’Mid the ferry’s laughing freight        30
Is as fair as any goddess
  Who sweeps through the Ivory Gate.
Ah, the vision of dawn is leisure—
  But the truth of day is toil;
And we pass from dreams of pleasure        35
To the world’s unstay’d turmoil.
Perchance, beyond the river
  Which guards the realms of Fate,
Our spirits may dwell forever
  ’Mong dreams of the Ivory Gate.        40


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