The Decadent

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   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.


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