MUSES by Victor Daley

The Muse who comes each morning
   In rozy gauze is clad;
Her head is crowned with flowers,
   Her eyes are clear and glad.

Upon her virgin bosom
   Bloom lilies of white fire,
Her tender heart a rose is
   Of delicate desire.

She is the gentle Goddess
   Who rules the dreams of youth;
Her wonderful sweet stories
   Are truer than the truth.

The Muse that comes at midnight,
   When lamps of revel shine,
Her robe is laburnum,
   All splashed with crimson wine.

Upon her head defiant,
   She wears a vine-leaf crown,
And on her naked shoulders,
   Her hair is hanging down.

And she at times is paler,
   And paler than the dead --
But O her lips are burning,
   And O her lips are red.

She lifts a brimming goblet,
   She spills three drops on the floor --
"Drink deep and kiss your leman!
   For Death is at the door."

The gentle Muse of Morning
   Comes now no more to me,
But with the Muse of Midnight
   I revel royally.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 December 1911, p17

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