Extract from - The Hermaphrodite

Out of the deep, immortal night
Came to me the Hermaphrodite,
Moonlight-breasted, pale, antique,
He spoke to me in deathless Greek:
"Brother of mine, it has been thus
Since I came forth from Anthemus.
Before the Satyrs' gate of gold
I stood with wingèd eyes grown bold,
Fire on my lips, music, light--
The unfathomable Hermaphrodite.
'Whither goest thou--whence?' they prayed.
Then to their laurelled priests I said:
'Behold me, who of gods am wrought,
Burning desire and profound thought;
I, where the star-brimmed evening falls,
Would follow my folk, the Bacchanals,
To Phrixæ, then to Sybaris,
Where their still-flowery worship is,
Then on and on to Pergamon,
A marble city in the sun.
Long have I tarried, yet to me cries
The flame that follows the flame that dies;
I pass--but worship me, hold me still,
Body and soul inseparable. . . .' "
I asked: "Didst thou then find thy bliss
In Phrixæ or at Sybaris?"

He moaned, "Not there . . . not there! I found
A god arisen, blithe and crowned,
Beautiful, on a fadeless plinth
Of poppy-flowers and hyacinth;
And as I passed the city wall
One on a tower began to call:
'Lo! an impostor comes to us,
The Lydian Dionysus,
Bound as with vines, his eyelids gold,
Godlike and marvellous to behold.
Beware! The sculptured cities dim
That sang and bowed and burned for him,
They, that in shadowy, silver spring
Uprose with mothlike murmuring
To obscure lust, to inverse night,
They knew him . . . this Hermaphrodite!' "
I said: "He lied unto them then.
For thou hast ever been to men
That which with unsustained despair
They seek, but find not anywhere;
The supreme loveliness that lies
In all men's souls, on all men's eyes!"