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by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

As those of old drank mummia
   To fire their limbs of lead,
Making dead kings from Africa
   Stand pandar to their bed;

Drunk on the dead, and medicined
   With spiced imperial dust,
In a short night they reeled to find
   Ten centuries of lust.

So I, from paint, stone, tale, and rhyme,
   Stuffed love's infinity,
And sucked all lovers of all time
   To rarify ecstasy.

Helen's the hair shuts out from me
   Verona's livid skies;
Gypsy the lips I press; and see
   Two Antonys in your eyes.

The unheard invisible lovely dead
   Lie with us in this place,
And ghostly hands above my head
   Close face to straining face;

Their blood is wine along our limbs;
   Their whispering voices wreathe
Savage forgotten drowsy hymns
   Under the names we breathe;

Woven from their tomb, and one with it,
   The night wherein we press;
Their thousand pitchy pyres have lit
   Your flaming nakedness.

For the uttermost years have cried and clung
   To kiss your mouth to mine;
And hair long dust was caught, was flung,
   Hand shaken to hand divine,

And Life has fired, and Death not shaded,
   All Time's uncounted bliss,
And the height o' the world has flamed and faded
   Love, that our love be this!


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