Will you leave me, my Lydia, here on my knees,
And like a barbarian’s bride,
Who drinks from the Don under flowerless trees
While she gnaws at her bear-flesh and aurochsen-cheese,
See your lover a prey to the snowbringing breeze
And disdain to admit him inside?
But if you can conceive of the aeons that passed
In the ocean so tediously
Ere a tentacled nautilus opened at last
The first cameral eye, and forthwith was aghast
To see, and to see himself nearly caught fast
By a nautilus bigger than he;
And conceive how the purulent prostitute Earth
Bore each animal after its kind:
The centipedes swollen to hideous girth,
The wasps that infested live toads to give birth,
All sensible neither to sorrow nor mirth
But to pain, though the Earth didn’t mind;
And reflect that we’re only less wretched than they
By impossible kindness of fate,
Which has not made us eyeless, or ugly, or grey,
For this moment at least—can you turn me away?
Of Creation? Oh open this gate.