NEW ORLEANS, 1885

A queen of indolence and idle grace,
   Robed in the remnants of a costly gown,
She turns the languor of her lovely face
   Upon Progression, with a lazy frown.
Her throne is built upon a marshy down;
   Malarial mosses wreathe her, like old lace.
With thin, crossed feet, unshod, and bare and brown,
   She sits indifferent to the world's swift race.

Across the seas there stalks an ogre grim.
   Too listless, she, for even Fear's alarms,
      While frightened nations rally in defense,
She lifts her smiling creole eyes to him
   And, reaching out her shapely, unwashed arms,
     She clasps her rightful lover--Pestilence.

Poems of reflection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, M.A. Donohue & company [c1905].


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