The Golden Rose

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an Elizabethan sonnet by Petronilla de Chastelerault

Within an onyx labyrinth I woke,
Not knowing where my feet had gone before,
When it appeared, like Helios invoked-
Like saffron silk about an amber core-
Like citrine set about with liquid gold-
A rose that shone from deep within its heart
With grace unending, lovely to behold.
I wondered what divinely crafted art
Could to one blossom so much splendor give.
And even as it led me from the maze
I wondered if on earth its equal lived.
I’ve found not yet, though I’ve searched all my days
Through forests, fortresses, verses, and prose,
A greater beauty than the golden rose.