Sonnet: "Thou art not lovelier than lilacs"

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Thou art not lovelier than lilacs, — no,
   Nor honeysuckle; thou art not more fair
   Than small white single poppies, — I can bear
Thy beauty; though I bend before thee, though
From left to right, not knowing where to go,
   I turn my troubled eyes, nor here nor there
   Find any refuge from thee, yet I swear
So has it been with mist, — with moonlight so.

Like him who day by day unto his draught
   Of delicate poison adds him one drop more
Till he may drink unharmed the death of ten,
Even so, inured to beauty, who have quaffed
   Each hour more deeply than the hour before,
I drink — and live — what has destroyed some men.

Monadnock Valley Press > Millay