THE DECADENT

Among the virile hosts he passed along,
    Conspicuous for an undetermined grace
    Of sexless beauty. In his form and face
God's mighty purpose somehow had gone wrong.
Then on his loom, he wove a careful song,
    Of sensuous threads; a wordy web of lace
    Wherein the primal passions of the race
And his own sins made wonder for the throng.

A little pen prick opened up a vein,
    And gave the finished mesh a crimson blot--
       The last consummate touch of studied art.
But those who knew strong passion and keen pain,
    Looked through and through the pattern and found not
       One single great emotion of the heart.

Poems of Progress and New Thought Pastels by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1911.


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