To Keep Beauty From Fading


  • Golden string

When all your face appears most fair,
When the comet and meteors gild your hair,
And in your eyes the moon and sun,
Contest, surrender, and burn as one,
When ivory Venus smooths your brow,
And Mars recurves your lips’ red bow,
Make haste to utter this binding verse,
And hold the stars to their kindest course:
“Figure of fire,
That shift and change,
Planets that move
By heaven’s hinge
Be signed and fixed
Forever here,
And close my image
Within thy sphere.”

Measure a yard of golden string,
Loose from your fingers let it swing,
Then tie it in thirteen sturdy knots,
Hide it among your scents and pots.