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  Amy Lowell (1874-1925)

          Venus Transiens

        Tell me,
    Was Venus more beautiful
    Than you are,
    When she topped
    The crinkled waves,
    Drifting shoreward
    On her plaited shell?
    Was Botticelli's vision
    Fairer than mine;
    And were the painted rosebuds
    He tossed his lady
    Of better worth
    Than the words I blow about you
    To cover your too great loveliness
    As with a gauze
    Of misted silver?

        For me,
    You stand poised
    In the blue and buoyant air,
    Cinctured by bright winds,
    Treading the sunlight.
    And the waves which precede you
    Ripple and stir
    The sands at my feet.


Venus Transiens was first published in Poetry magazine in 1915. Lowell was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.

The above poem can be found, for example, in:

  • Hine, Daryl, and Joseph Parisi, eds. The Poetry Anthology, 1912-1977. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978.
  • Lowell, Amy. The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1955.