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The Harlot of the World

  • O Life, thou harlot who beguilest all!
  • Beautiful in thy house, the gorgeous world,
  • Abidest thou, where Powers pinion-furled
  • And flying Splendours follow to thy call.
  • Innumerous like the stars or like the dust,
  • Nations and monarchs were thy thralls of yore:
  • Unto the grave's old womb forevermore
  • Hast thou betrayed the passion and the lust.
  • Fair as the moon of summer is thy face,
  • And mystical with cloudiness of hair…
  • Only an eye, subornless by delight,
  • Shall find within thy phosphorescent gaze
  • Those caverns of corruption and despair,
  • Where the Worm toileth in the charnel night.