Two

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One leaned on velvet cushions like a queen -
   To see him pass, the hero of an hour,
Whom men called great. She bowed with languid mien,
   And smiled, and blushed, and knew her beauty's power.

One trailed her tinselled garments through the street,
   And thrust aside the crowd, and found a place
So near, the blooded courser's prancing feet
   Cast sparks of fire upon her painted face.

One took the hot-house blossoms from her breast,
   And tossed them down, as he went riding by,
And blushed rose-red to see them fondly pressed
   To bearded lips, while eye spoke unto eye.

One, bold and hardened with her sinful life,
   Yet shrank and shivered painfully, because
His cruel glance cut keener than a knife,
   The glance of him who made her what she was.

One was observed, and lifted up to fame,
   Because the hero smiled upon her! while
One who was shunned and hated, found her shame
   In basking in the death-light of his smile.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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