A White Camellia

IMPERIAL bloom, whose every curve we see
A lovely sculptural symmetry control,
Looking, in your pale, odorless apathy,
Like the one earthly flower that has no soul,
With all sweet radiance bathed in chill eclipse,
Pure shape of colorless majesty, you seem
The rose that Silence first laid on her lips,
Far back among the shadowy days of dream!
By such inviolate calmness you are girt,
I doubt, while wondering at the spell it weaves,
If even Decay’s dark hand shall dare to hurt
The marble immobility of your leaves!
For never sunbeam yet had power to melt
This virginal coldness, absolute as though
Diana’s awful chastity still dwelt
Regenerate amid your blossoming snow !
And while my silent reverie deeply notes
What arctic quietude in your bosom lies,
A wandering thought across my spirit floats,
Like a new bird along familiar skies. . . .
White ghost, in centuries past has dread mischance
Thus ruined your vivid warmth, your fragrant breath,
While making you, by merciless ordinance,
The first of living flowers that gazed on death?
Edgar Fawcett.