His perfect jacinths. One large opal

Hung like a milky, rainbow moon

In the centre, and blown in loose festoon

The red stones quivered on silver threads

To the outer edge, where a single, fine

Band of mother-of-pearl the line

Completed. On the other side,

The creamy porcelain of the face

Bore diamond hours, and no lace

Of cotton or silk could ever be

Tossed into being more airily

Than the filmy golden hands; the time

Seemed to tick away in rhyme.

When, at dusk, the Shadow grew

Upon the wall, Paul's work was through.

Holding the watch, he spoke to her:

"Lady, Beautiful Shadow, stir

Into one brief sign of being.

Turn your eyes this way, and seeing

This watch, made from those sweet curves

Where your hair from your forehead swerves,

Accept the gift which I have wrought

With your fairness in my thought.

Grant me this, and I shall be

Honoured overwhelmingly."

The Shadow rested black and still,

And the wind sighed over the window-sill.

Paul put the despised watch away

And laid out before him his array

Of stones and metals, and when the morning

Struck the stones to their best adorning,

He chose the brightest, and this new watch

Was so light and thin it seemed to catch

The sunlight's nothingness, and its gleam.

Topazes ran in a foamy stream

Over the cover, the hands were studded

With garnets, and seemed red roses, budded.

The face was of crystal, and engraved

Upon it the figures flashed and waved

With zircons, and beryls, and amethysts.

It took a week to make, and his trysts

At night with the Shadow were his alone.

Paul swore not to speak till his task was done.

The night that the jewel was worthy to give.

Paul watched the long hours of daylight live

To the faintest streak; then lit his light,

And sharp against the wall's pure white

The outline of the Shadow started

Into form. His burning-hearted

Words so long imprisoned swelled

To tumbling speech. Like one compelled,

He told the lady all his love,

And holding out the watch above

His head, he knelt, imploring some

Littlest sign.

The Shadow was dumb.

Weeks passed, Paul worked in fevered haste,

And everything he made he placed

Before his lady. The Shadow kept

Its perfect passiveness. Paul wept.

He wooed her with the work of his hands,

He waited for those dear commands

She never gave. No word, no motion,

Eased the ache of his devotion.

His days passed in a strain of toil,

His nights burnt up in a seething coil.

Seasons shot by, uncognisant

He worked. The Shadow came to haunt

Even his days. Sometimes quite plain

He saw on the wall the blackberry stain

Of his lady's picture. No sun was bright

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