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

Mortimer Collins b. 1827

The Ivory Gate

WHEN, lov’d by poet and painter,

The sunrise fills the sky,

When night’s gold urns grow fainter,

And in depths of amber die—

When the morn-breeze stirs the curtain,

Bearing an odorous freight—

Then visions strange, uncertain,

Pour thick through the Ivory Gate.

Then the oars of Ithaca dip so

Silently into the sea

That they wake not sad Calypso,

And the Hero wanders free:

He breasts the ocean-furrows,

At war with the words of Fate,

And the blue tide’s low susurrus

Comes up to the Ivory Gate.

Or, clad in the hide of leopard,

’Mid Ida’s freshest dews,

Paris, the Teucrian shepherd,

His sweet Oenone wooes:

On the thought of her coming bridal

Unutter’d joy doth wait,

While the tune of the false one’s idyl

Rings soft through the Ivory Gate.

Or down from green Helvellyn

The roar of streams I hear,

And the lazy sail is swelling

To the winds of Windermere:

That girl with the rustic bodice

’Mid the ferry’s laughing freight

Is as fair as any goddess

Who sweeps through the Ivory Gate.

Ah, the vision of dawn is leisure—

But the truth of day is toil;

And we pass from dreams of pleasure

To the world’s unstay’d turmoil.

Perchance, beyond the river

Which guards the realms of Fate,

Our spirits may dwell forever

’Mong dreams of the Ivory Gate.