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DESIRE rules over men, those half-gods vain,
And is the tyrant of their heart and brain.
He fashions women amorous or chaste,
And when he abdicates, his subjects waste!
The simple souls of little girls and boys
Precociously dream of clandestine joys;
Scarce have we left the paps that reared us first,
A naked breast fills us with fiercer thirst;
And such a keen and secret pleasure preys
On old men mourning far-departed days;
Nay, it may be that in the hour of death
Old spasms echo in the rattling breath,
And withered, icy hands that seek above
The sheets, are moved by memories of love ...
Desire is our innumerable king
In the earth's womb or spaces wildering.
His long, invisible, gold fetters yoke
The moon to the sea, the agaric to the oak,
And, in blue deeps beyond our vision's bounds,
Make orbs serene blend their melodious sounds;
He calls out of the souls of bards sublime
Their noblest verse, and marries rime with rime;
Yea, everywhere his august force entwines
The elms with vine, and ivy weds to pines.
Desire enlaces life with life! The crust
Of earth has for the sun the same dark lust
As in the gamut rote to rote still turns--
The Cosmos for eternal woman yearns!