Verse > Oscar Wilde > Poems

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900).  Poems.  1881.

51. Camma

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         5
  For many a secret moon of indolent bliss, 
  When in the 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  10
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 Antony! 



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