“The Legend of the Briar-Rose”

Sonnet on the Pictures by Burne-Jones.

The dreamful loveliness enthralled so long1
Awaits thy kiss, O Prince, in whose deep eyes2
The spiritual strength of pureness lies.3
Pale knight, through strife and star-lit vigil strong,4
Thy counter-charm shall loose this ancient wrong.5
The spell-bound world waits on thy high emprise ;6
Ah ! bid the thorn-girt, perfect woman rise !7
For while she sleeps, all sleep ; the maidens’ song8
By fount and loom is hushed ; with trancéd brows9
The nation’s guides lie slumbering. Prince ! not dead10
Is she, the world’s hope, though her warm limbs stay11
Bound as in grave-clothes. See, above her head12
The dawn is reddening. Thy pure kiss shall rouse,13
With her, the enfranchised earth to Life and Day.14