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O COURTESANS, Love's witching, wild priestesses,
You charm the universe from end to end!
Heroes are always fettered by your tresses,
Kings for their pleasure on your bed depend.


Your pose is graceful, and your nostril quivers,
Your feet go dancing, and your deep eyes burn,
Your supple bodies bend like reeds of rivers,
Your robes like incense round about you turn.


Poor men are full of anger when they see you
Come from your segregation of disgrace,
Matrons cast envious eyes at you and flee you,
And the wise, scolding, turn away their face.


But still the sighs of boys with passion paling
Soar up to you in sultry evenings when
You pass, the dreams of lonely artists trailing,
And gray regrets of amorous old men;


And long, strong sighs of young men sick and ailing,
Whose blood chafes at the scent the summer floats,
Longing to take your breasts like fruits, inhaling
Love in the odour of your petticoats.