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At the Three Fountains

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Here, where God lives among the trees,
   Where birds and monks the whole day sing
His praises in a pleasant ease,

O heart, might we not find a home
   Here, after all our wandering?
These gates are closed, even on Rome.

Souls of the twilight wander here ;
   Here, in the garden of that death
Which was for love's sake, need we fear

How sharp with bitter joy might be
   Love's lingering, last, longed-for breath,
Shut in upon eternity?

Source: Poetry (Poetry)

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This poem originally appeared in the May 1917 issue of Poetry magazine

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At the Three Fountains

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  • British poet, critic, and translator Arthur Symons was born in Wales and educated by private tutors. At 16, Symons moved to London, where he joined a vibrant literary community and participated, alongside poets like William Butler Yeats, in the notorious Rhymers’ Club, a group of poets and writers responsible for witty repartee anthologies such as The Book of the Rhymers’ Club (1892), in which Symons’s poems appeared.

    Symons’s formal poetry explores romantic love, loss, and the passage of time. Selections from four of Symons’s early collections of poetry—Silhouettes (1892), London Nights (1896), Amoris Victima (1897), and Images of Good and Evil (1899)—were later collected in his two-volume Poems (1902). His seminal guide The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899) introduced English readers to the Symbolist movement, which Symons described as “an attempt to spiritualise literature.” Symons also translated the work of French and Italian poets Paul Verlaine, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Gabriele D’Annunzio...

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