The Laurel in the Generalife Garden

The Laurel in the Generalife Garden
by Théophile Gautier, translated by Frederic Cesar De Sumichrast and Agnes Lee

From the French Le Laurier du Generalife.

In the Generalife a lovely laurel,
    Gay as victory and glad as love,
Bathes its boughs in fountain mists auroral,
Hides a pearl within each bloom of coral.
    And the green earth smiles to heaven above.

Like a blushing girl elate and slender,
    Tint of flesh it taketh with the spring;
Like an odalisk in her nude splendour,
Waiting by the water, flushed and tender,
    Ready for her fair apparelling.

Beauteous laurel! Many a mystic hour
    Have I rested me beside its form,
Sealed my lips upon its precious flower —
Sweet red mouth! — and, thrilling to its power,
    Felt it give me back my kisses warm.