Modern Love Vii: She Issues Radiant

She issues radiant from her dressing-room,
Like one prepared to scale an upper sphere:
--By stirring up a lower, much I fear
How deftly that oiled barber lays his bloom
That long-shanked dapper Cupid with frisked curls
Can make known women torturingly fair;
The gold-eyed serpent dwelling in rich hair,
Awakes beneath his magic whisks and twirls.
His art can take the eyes from out my head,
Until I see with eyes of other men;
While deeper knowledge crouches in its den,
And sends a spark up:--is it true we are wed?
Yea! filthiness of body is most vile,
But faithlessness of heart I do hold worse.
The former, it were not so great a curse
To read on the steel-mirror of her smile.

by George Meredith

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