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An angel of pale desire
Whispered me in the ear
(Ah me, the white-rose mesh
Of the flower-soft, rose-white flesh!)
"Love, they say, is a fire:
Lo, the soft love that is here!


"Love, they say, is a pain
Infinite as the soul,
Ever a longing to be
Love's, to infinity,
Ever a longing in vain
After a vanishing goal.


"Lo, the soft joy that I give
Here in the garden of earth;
Come where the rose-tree grows;
Thine is the garden's rose,
Pluck thou, eat, and live
In ease, in indolent mirth."


Then I saw that the rose was fair,
And the mystical rose afar,
A glimmering shadow of light,
Paled to a star in the night;
And the angel whispered "Beware,
Love is a wandering star.


"Love is a raging fire,
Choose thou content instead;
Thou, the child of dust,
Choose thou a delicate Lust."
"Thou hast chosen!" I said
To the angel of pale desire.