Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern British Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry.  1920.
 
Lascelles Abercrombie. 1884–
 
131. Song
(From "Judith")
 
BALKIS was in her marble town, 
And shadow over the world came down. 
Whiteness of walls, towers and piers, 
That all day dazzled eyes to tears, 
Turned from being white-golden flame,         5
And like the deep-sea blue became. 
Balkis into her garden went; 
Her spirit was in discontent 
Like a torch in restless air. 
Joylessly she wandered there,  10
And saw her city's azure white 
Lying under the great night, 
Beautiful as the memory 
Of a worshipping world would be 
In the mind of a god, in the hour  15
When he must kill his outward power; 
And, coming to a pool where trees 
Grew in double greeneries, 
Saw herself, as she went by 
The water, walking beautifully,  20
And saw the stars shine in the glance 
Of her eyes, and her own fair countenance 
Passing, pale and wonderful, 
Across the night that filled the pool. 
And cruel was the grief that played  25
With the queen's spirit; and she said: 
"What do I here, reigning alone? 
For to be unloved is to be alone. 
There is no man in all my land 
Dare my longing understand;  30
The whole folk like a peasant bows 
Lest its look should meet my brows 
And be harmed by this beauty of mine. 
I burn their brains as I were sign 
Of God's beautiful anger sent  35
To master them with punishment 
Of beauty that must pour distress 
On hearts grown dark with ugliness. 
But it is I am the punisht one. 
Is there no man, is there none,  40
In whom my beauty will but move 
The lust of a delighted love; 
In whom some spirit of God so thrives 
That we may wed our lonely lives. 
Is there no man, is there none?"—  45
She said, "I will go to Solomon." 
 
 
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