Antinous: A Poem

#Ancient #Poetry # Classical & Medieval
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Excerpt +ANTINOUS+ It rained outside right into Hadrian's soul. The boy lay deadOn the low couch, on whose denuded whole,To Hadrian's eyes, that at their seeing bled,The shadowy light of Death's eclipse was shed. The boy lay dead and the day seemed a nightOutside. The rain fell like a sick affrightOf Nature at her work in killing him.Through the mind's galleries of their past delightThe very light of memory was dim. O hands that clasped erewhile Hadrian's warm hands,That now found them but cold!O hair bound erstwhile with the pressing bands!O eyes too diffidently bold!O bare female male-body likeA god that dawns into humanity!O lips whose opening redness erst could strikeLust's seats with a soiled art's variety!O fingers skilled in things not to be named!O tongue which, counter-tongued, the throbbed brows flamed!O glory of a wrong lust pillowed onRaged conciousness's spilled suspension!These things are things that now must be no more.The rain is silent, and the EmperorSinks by the couch. His grief is like a rage,For the gods take away the life they giveAnd spoil the beauty they made live.He weeps and knows that every future ageIs staring at him out of the to-be.His love is on a universal stage.A thousand unborn eyes weep with his misery. Antinous is dead, is dead forever,Is dead forever and the loves lament.Venus herself, that was Adonis' lover,Seeing him again, having lived, dead again,Lends her great skyey grief now to be blentWith Hadrian's pain. Now is Apollo sad because the stealerOf his white body is forever cold.In vain shall kisses on that nippled pointCovering his heart-beats' silent place imploreHis life again to ope his eyes and feel herPresence along his veins this fortress holdOf love. Now no caressing hands anointWith growing joy that body's lusting lore. The rain falls, and he lies like one who hathForgotten all the gestures of his loveAnd lies awake waiting their hot return.But all his vices' art is now with Death:He lies with her, whose sex cannot him move,Whose hand, were't not cold, still ne'er his could burn.Lilies were on his cheeks and roses too.His eyes were sad in joy sometimes. He saidOft in his close abandonments, that wooLove to be more love than love can be, «KissMy eyelids till my closed eyes seem to guessThe kiss they feel laid in my heart's breast-bed.» O Hadrian, what shall now thy cold life be?What boots it to be emperor over all?His absence o'er thy visible emperyThrows a dim pall.Now are thy nights widowed of love and kisses,Now are thy days robbed of the night's awaiting,Now are thy lips purposeless and thy blissesNo longer of the size of thy life, matingThy empire with thy love's bold tendernesses. Now are thy doors closed upon beauty and joy.Throw ashes on thy head!Lo, lift thine eyes and see the lovely boy!Naked he lies upon that memoried bed;By thine own hand he lies uncovered.There was he wont thy dangling sense to cloy,And uncloy with more cloying, and annoyWith newer uncloying till thy senses bled....
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