In the midnight of darkness and terror,
When I would grope nearer to God,
With my back to a record of error,
And the highway of sin I have trod,
There come to me shapes I would banish,
The shapes of the deeds I have done;
And I pray and I plead till they vanish,
All vanish and leave me, save one.

That one--with a smile like the splendour
Of the sun in the mid-day skies,
That one, with a spell that is tender,
That one, with a dream in her eyes,
Cometh close, in her rare southern beauty,
Her languor, in indolent grace;
And my soul turns its back on its duty,
To live in the light of her face.

She touches my cheek, and I quiver,
I tremble with exquisite pains;
She sighs--like an over-charged river,
My blood surges on thro' my veins;
She smiles--and in mad tiger fashion
As she tiger-like fondles her own,
I clasp her with fierceness and passion,
And kiss her with shudder and groan.

Once more, in our love's sweet beginning,
I put away God and the world;
Once more, in the joys of our sinnings,
Are the hopes of eternity hurled,
There is nothing my soul lacks or misses,
As I clasp the shape to my breast;
In the passion and pain of her kisses,
Life blooms to its richest and best.

O ghost of dead sin unrelenting,
Go back to the dust, and the sod!
Too dear and too sweet for repenting,
Ye stand between me and my God.
If I by His throne should behold you,
Smiling up with those eyes loved so well,
Close, close in my arms I would hold you,
And drop with you into sweet Hell!

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Fruits of Passion by Mai Fai.
Honolulu, HI: [the author], 1890.

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