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Lorenzo’s Song by Coningsby Dawson 19/07/2011

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A Coningsby Dawson (obit 1959) poem from A Certain Night in Florence and Other Poems (1914), excerpted from the title poem.

So tis Lorenzo’s song they sing to-night,
That haunting song which long years since he sang
When, with his gallants through the torch-smirched dusk,

He laughing rode toward the Carnival,
And young girls loosened all abroad their hair
And flung up petals through the cool moonlight,
Some of which falling rested on his face,
Some of which falling covered up his eyes;
And girls there were who kissed his drooping hands
And clasped his stirrups, begging him to stay,
To halt one little moment, stay with them:
Life is so short. Delay with us a while.
But he rode on, and sang of joy and love.
Lorenzo il Magnifico is dead;
His lips are silent, and he now could halt
Oh, endlessly, if one of those fair maids
Should come to him imploring him to stay.
For twelve slow years within the sacristy
Of San Lorenzo he has never waked,
But has the rest he could not find in life
Ungrateful now, because postponed too long.
If one should steal to him from out the past
And bending down should whisper low his name,
He would not hearken. True, she would be old,
As are all maids of that spent gala-night;
So, if he heard her, he would only smile,
For he loved only beauty in his day.

 

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