Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXIX. The Happy Dead
‘Heap cassia, sandal-buds and stripes’
By Robert Browning (1812–1889)
 
From ‘Paracelsus’

HEAP cassia, sandal-buds and stripes
  Of labdanum, and aloe-balls,
Smeared with dull nard an Indian wipes
  From out her hair: such balsam falls
  Down seaside mountain pedestals,        5
From tree-tops where tired winds are fain,
Spent with the vast and howling main,
To treasure half their island-gain.
 
And strew faint sweetness from some old
  Egyptian’s fine worm-eaten shroud        10
Which breaks to dust when once unrolled;
  Or shredded perfume, like a cloud
  From closet long to quiet vowed,
With mothed and dropping arras hung,
Mouldering her lute and books among,        15
As when a queen, long dead, was young.
 
 
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