Lay Your Sleeping head, my love,

Human on my faithless arm:

Time and fevers burn away

Individual beauty from

Thoughtful children, and the grave

Proves the child ephemeral:

But in my arms till break of day

Let the living creature lie,

Mortal, guilty, but to me

The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:

To lovers as they lie upon

Her tolerant enchanted slope

In their ordinary swoon,

Grave the vision Venus sends

Of supernatural sympathy,

Universal love and hope;

While an abstract insight wakes

Among the glaciers and the rocks

The hermit's carnal ecstasy,

Certainty, fidelity

On the stroke of midnight pass

Like vibrations of a bell

And fashionable madmen raise

Their pedantic boring cry:

Every farthing of the cost.

All the dreaded cards foretell.

Shall be paid, but from this night

Not a whisper, not a thought.

Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:

Let the winds of dawn that blow

Softly round your dreaming head

Such a day of welcome show

Eye and knocking heart may bless,

Find our mortal world enough;

Noons of dryness find you fed

By the involuntary powers,

Nights of insult let you pass

Watched by every human love.  

Author's Notes/Comments: 

~ W. H. Auden

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