The House of Life

Sonnet 77: Soul's Beauty(Sibylla Palmifera)


Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Under the arch of Life, where love and death,

Terror and mystery, guard her shrine I saw

Beauty enthroned; and though my gaze struck awe,

I drew it in as simply as my breath.

Hers are the eyes which, over and beneath,

The sky and sea bend on thee--which can draw,

By sea or sky or woman, to one law,

The allotted bondman of her palm and wreath.

This is that Lady Beauty, in whose praise

Thy voice and hand shake still--long known to thee

By flying hair and fluttering hem--the beat

Following her daily of thy heart and feet,

How passionately and irretrievably,

In what fond flight, how many days and ways!


The painting at the top of the page is Sibylla Palmifera, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who was a painter as well as a poet; this painting inspired him to write the poem above.

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