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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Annie Adams Fields (1834–1915)

Flammantis Mœnia Mundi

I STOOD alone in purple space, and saw

The burning walls of the world, like wings of flame

Circling the sphere: there was no break nor flaw

In those vast airy battlements whence came

The spirits who had done with time and fame

And all the playthings of earth’s little hour;

I saw them each, I knew them for the same,—

Mothers and brothers and the sons of power.

Yet were they changed: the flaming walls had burned

Their perishable selves, and there remained

Only the pure white vision of the soul,

The mortal part consumed, and swift returned

Ashes to ashes; while unscathed, unstained,

The immortal passed beyond the earth’s control.