Carry me not, like dead Endymion,
A frozen image cold within your mind.
This is the changing flesh, to look upon,
To time and all its forfeitures consigned.
How shall your heart have known, when we are broken,
The hot and troubled pulse which charged my thought,
What fears it felt, what words it would have spoken Close to your soul of beauty it had caught?
Nothing is sure; and you and I tomorrow,
Corrupt with argument and weak intent,
May find each other stranger, in no sorrow Kin, and the promised ecstasy unspent.
This is the body which now shapes its breath In words for you, upon the road to death.
You are the latest image time has known.
The little passionate hour in which we live Adds beauty as strong and simple as a stone To all that other centuries had to give.
Now it is splendor to be whole and young—
A ticking instant paused at loveliness,
The mute immediate wonder given tongue,
A heaven which, living, we may yet possess.
Be excellent in this hour, for you are life.
What once was Helen’s is now yours to keep;
And I have taken all the years to wife And with what lasts of Athens turn to sleep,
Close—in the minute which is set apart—
Locking the summed up ages to my heart.