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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

George William Russell 1867–1935

The Great Breath


IITS edges foamed with amethyst and rose,

Withers once more the old blue flower of day:

There where the ether like a diamond glows

Its petals fade away.

A shadowy tumult stirs the dusky air;

Sparkle the delicate dews, the distant snows;

The great deep thrills, for through it everywhere

The breath of Beauty blows.

I saw how all the trembling ages past,

Moulded to her by deep and deeper breath,

Neared to the hour when Beauty breathes her last

And knows herself in death.