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Poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti


The House of Life. Sonnet 88. Hero's Lamp


That lamp thou fill'st in Eros' name to-night,
O Hero, shall the Sestian augurs take
Tomorrow, and for drowned Leander's sake
To Anteros its fireless lip shall plight.
Aye, waft the unspoken vow: yet dawn's first light
On ebbing storm and life twice ebb'd must break;
While 'neath no sunrise, by the Avernian Lake,
Lo where Love walks, Death's pallid neophyte.

That lamp within Anteros' shadowy shrine
Shall stand unlit (for so the gods decree)
Till some one man the happy issue see
Of a life's love, and bid its flame to shine:
Which still may rest unfir'd; for, theirs or thine,
O brother, what brought love to them or thee?

After the deaths of Leander and of Hero, the signal-lamp was dedicated to Anteros, with the edict that no man should light it unless his love had proved fortunate.



Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Dante Gabriel Rossetti's other poems:
  1. The House of Life. Sonnet 39. Sleepless Dreams
  2. The House of Life. Sonnet 3. Love's Testament
  3. The House of Life. Sonnet 21. Love-Sweetness
  4. The House of Life. Sonnet 72. The Choice - 2
  5. The House of Life. Sonnet 20. Gracious Moonlight

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