An Ionian Frieze

HORSES rampant and curbed, compactly close,
With polished hooves that quiver from the earth,
And mane-enfringèd necks whose rondure shows
In silhouette against the pale sky’s girth.
Beneath chaste marble jeweled of chrysolite
A gracile girl with fillet-girdled hair
Stands half revealed through folds of shimmering white,
Her carmine lips wed to a silver flute,
As though their budding beauty to transmute
To music dying off along the air.
In sage processional pass bearded priests,
And acolytes with pink and boyish limbs,
Chanting to all the gods strange bardic hymns
Less tuned to sacrifice than fit for feasts.
And over all, the antique light, the old
Divine perfection, the lost art which drapes
In fairest majesty heroic shapes
Enwrought upon a fleld of beaten gold.
Francis Howard Williams.