In the Northern tales of eld,
From the Rhine's escarpments high
Swan-women radiant were beheld,
Singing and floating by,
Or, leaving their plumage bright
On a bough that was bending low,
Displaying skin more gleaming white
Than the white of their down of snow.
At times one comes our way,--
Of all she is pallidest,
White as the moonbeam's shivering ray
On a glacier's icy crest.
Her boreal bloom doth win
Our eyes to feasting rare
On rich delight of nacreous skin,
And a wealth of whiteness fair.
Her rounded breasts, pale globes
Of snow, wage insolent war
With her camellias and her robes
Of whiteness nebular.
In such white wars supreme
She wins, and weft and flower
Leave their revenge's right, and seem
Yellowed with envy's hour.
On the white of her shoulder bare,
Whose marble Paros lends,
As through the Polar twilight fair,
Invisible frost descends.
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