A dagger-hilt crusted with flaming gems:
A queen's rich girdle clasped with tiger's claws;
A lady's glove or a cat's velvet paws;
The whisper of a judge when he condemns;
Fierce night-shade berries purple on their stems
Among the rose's healthsome scarlet haws;
A rainbow-sheathed snake with jagged jaws:
Such are queen Beauty's sovran anadems.
For she caresses with a poisoned hand,
And venom hangs about her moistened lips,
And plots of murder lurk with her eyes
She loves lewd girls dancing a saraband
The murderer stabbing till all his body drips,
And thee, my gentle lady, and thy soft sighs.


Aesthetes and Decadents of the 1890s: An Anthology of British Poetry and Prose. Ed. Karl Beckson. Chicago: Academy, 1981.

Last modified 1 November 2006