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by Oscar Wilde, 1881

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
   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
 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!

Published in Poems

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