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by Charles Baudelaire, translated to English by John Collings Squire

Each man who is man, high or low,
Has in his heart a yellow snake
Who on a throne his seat doth take
And answers “I desire” with “No.”

Plunge thine eyes deep in Sirens’ eyes,
Drink in their sensuous sorceries;
The Tooth says, “Think on what is right.”

Yea, breed thy children, plant thy trees,
Polish thy verse or carve thy frieze,
The Tooth says, “Shalt thou live this night?”

Man cannot live a moment here,
Whate’er he plan, or ill or well,
But boding, insupportable,
The Viper whispers in his ear.

Blossoms of Evil (1857)
by Charles Baudelaire - Translated by John Collings Squire

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