All is Dross that is not Helena

Clark Ashton Smith

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What wistful lover has not mused upon
The waste of years that never knew his love!
And, wanting her once more, the seasons prove
But dearth and draff to feed oblivion.

I deem that all is empty, in my turn,
Beyond your tender arms, your tender heart:
Void and deviceless are the nets of art,
And song and silence are of one concern,

Dearer than Paphos' joy, or Lethe's peace!
In you alone are solace and surcease
Of antenatal dolor, ancient wrong.

You are the supreme boon, the only good
To one, who finds despair in solitude,
And weariness of heart amid the throng.

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