Read "Artemis" at The Eldritch Dark:
This poem from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) is titled for one of the primary deities of classical Greek mythology, and seems to draw on her role as a goddess of chastity. This idea is reinforced by several references to the sterility of the "flowerless garden" in which the narrator finds himself.
Flowers are, of course, the reproductive structures of angiosperms (aka the flowering plants), and their absence in the garden in which the poem is set echoes Artemis' careful guarding of her virginity:
Thou dost await, O mournful, enigmatic
Image of love-bewildered Artemis,
Whose tender lips too late,
Or all too soon, have sought the wounding kiss.
One can't help wondering if these verses might have been inspired by one of CAS' own romances, one that perhaps involved a physically reluctant paramour, an earthly "love-bewildered Artemis".
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