Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Rococo
By Richard Schaukal
 
From “Modern German Poems”
Translated by Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky

HEAVY draperies, stiff and silvergrey;
Busts of gods, that stare forth vacantly
From blind eyes; rich convoluted clocks;
Porcelain figures droll in shepherds’ smocks,
Set on gilt-legged tables, marble-topped;        5
Ebon cats whose green eyes, never dropped,
Blink, desirous, from the chimney-piece;
Curtained small causeuses, as soft as fleece;
Gay gilt chairs, and flowered tapestry;
And upon a spinet, open, lies        10
That most exquisite of melodies—
The gavotte, whose yellowed margins show,
On the right-hand page, a bit below,
The curved dent of a marquise’s nail.
Her high-waisted little body sat        15
Here, the while she played, lovely and pale,
With arched brows, large blue mendacious eyes,
Powdered hair she never dared to pat,
Before gentlemen who faithfully
Held to an houri heaven upon earth;        20
Whose lace-ruffled wrists moved gracefully,
Hovering nicely over satin vests
To adjust frilled jabots on their breasts;
Or who bent slim canes in dreamy mirth—
Silver-knobbed, marked with enameled crests;        25
Who with oriental perfumes scented
Delicate adventures, and took pains
To dismiss with adroit tenderness
The old god, buried without distress,
As with languid graces, well contented,        30
They tripped round the grave where he must rest….
Who will open these locked gates to me,
On this world of piquancies and pander,
Madrigals and pale nuance and slander?
 
 
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