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Altar: Palace of Fine Arts

The Evanescent City

By George Sterling

With Nine Illustrations after Photographs

By Francis Bruguiere

And A Cover in Color after the Painting by Will Sparks

San Francisco
A. M. Robertson

Copyright, 1915, by
A. M. Robertson

Printed by Taylor & Taylor, San Franscico

This poem, commemorative of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, with its accompanying illustrations after photographs by Francis Bruguiere, first appeared in Sunset Magazine, to whose Editors the Publisher is indebted for permissions to reprint it in the present form. The illustration on the cover, after the painting by Will Sparks, has not been published heretofore. The poem is set by hand in Frederic W. Goudy's Kennerley Italic, but recently cut by him, and is we believe, here used in a book for the first time.

The Evanescent City

Arch of the East
Great on the west, ere darkness crush her domes,
Wine-red the city of the sunset lies.
Below her courts the mournful ocean foams;
Above, no foam of cloud is in the skies.

Palace of Horticulture
Awhile I stand, a dreamer by the deep,
And watch the winds of evening sap her walls,
Till ashen armies to the ramparts sweep
And seas of shadow storm the gleaming halls.

Water Spirit
So dies that far magnificense of light,
A conquered splendor on a crumbling pyre,
'Mid fall of crimson temples from their height
And ruined altars yielding up their fire.

So fades that city, one with all that finds
The nameless road that Beauty takes at last -
One with her dust upon the twilight winds
And all her music mingling with the Past.

Palace of Machinery
"Farewell!" I whisper low - then thrill to see,
Unseen till now, eternal and afar,
Soul of dead day and pledge of peace to be,
The tranquil silver of the evening star . . .

Palace of Varied Industries
And even thus our city of a year
Must pass like those the shafted sunsets build,
Fleeting as all fair things and, fleeting, dear -
A rainbow fallen and an anthem stilled.

Palace of Fine Arts
A rainbow fallen - but within the soul
Its deep indubitable iris burns;
An anthem stilled - yet for its ghostly goal
The incommunicable music yearns.

Only for Beauty's passing shall we trace
The heavenly pathway that her feet had trod;
Only at her departure seek her face -
We that shall find it not this side of God.

The End

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