Dieu d’Amour


This meditation on beauty was occasioned by Wharton’s 1926 travel to Cyprus and Saint Hilarion Castle, called Dieu d’Amour by the French.  Her diary records: “3 hours in motor, an hour on donkey & foot.  Very steep.”  Wharton was sixty-four, still adventurous and open to being captivated.

Dieu d’Amour  [A Castle in Cyprus]

Beauty hath two great wings
That lift me to her height,
Though steep her secret dwelling clings
‘Twixt earth and light.
Thither my startled soul she brings
In a murmur and stir of plumes,
And blue air cloven,
And in aerial rooms
Windowed on starry springs
Shows me the singing looms
Whereon her worlds are woven;

Then, in her awful breast,
Those heights descending,
Bears me, a child at rest,
At the day’s ending,
Till earth, familiar as a nest,
Again receives me,
And Beauty veiled in night,
Benignly bending,
Drops from the sinking west
One feather of our flight,
And on faint sandals leaves me.