Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
George William Russell ('A. E.'). b. 1853
  
873. The Great Breath
  
ITS edges foam'd 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;         5
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,  10
Near'd to the hour when Beauty breathes her last 
        And knows herself in death. 
 
 
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