Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
Sonnet LVI. True Woman: I. Herself
By Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)
(From The House of Life, 1881)

TO be a sweetness more desired than Spring;
  A bodily beauty more acceptable
  Than the wild rose-tree’s arch that crowns the fell;
To be an essence more environing
Than wine’s drained juice; a music ravishing        5
  More than the passionate pulse of Philomel;—
  To be all this ’neath one soft bosom’s swell
That is the flower of life:—how strange a thing!
How strange a thing to be what Man can know
  But as a sacred secret! Heaven’s own screen        10
Hides her soul’s purest depth and loveliest glow;
  Closely withheld, as all things most unseen,—
  The wave-bowered pearl,—the heart-shaped seal of green
That flecks the snowdrop underneath the snow.

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