What charm is yours, you faded old-world tapestries,
Of outworn, childish mysteries,
Vague pageants woven on a web of dream!
And we, pushing and fighting in the turbid stream
Of modern life, find solace in your tarnished broideries.
Old lichened halls, sun-shaded by huge cedar-trees,
The layered branches horizontal stretched, like Japanese
Dark-banded prints. Carven cathedrals, on a sky
Of faintest colour, where the gothic spires fly
And sway like masts, against a shifting breeze.
Worm-eaten pages, clasped in old brown vellum, shrunk
From over-handling, by some anxious monk.
Or Virgin’s Hours, bright with gold and graven
With flowers, and rare birds, and all the Saints of Heaven,
And Noah’s ark stuck on Ararat, when all the world had sunk.
They soothe us like a song, heard in a garden, sung
By youthful minstrels, on the moonlight flung
In cadences and falls, to ease a queen,
Widowed and childless, cowering in a screen
Of myrtles, whose life hangs with all its threads unstrung.