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THE honeymoon's last quarter waning thin,
They judged each other, very haggard he,
With chin on breast, fresher and fresher she
With irony in the colour of her skin.


Nor pleasure given nor hope for babe can fire
Her sterile listlessness to fold and flash,
And the refinements of the husband clash
With his half-weary wish to be a sire.


His long days spent in planning some caress
Whose keen surprise should set the night ablaze,
Leave to him vanquished but the cold amaze
Of having wakened only weariness.


Then delicate fear into his conscience bit
Lest his endured caress bred but disgust,
And so from chanceful women serving lust
He asked the flesh that for his own was fit.


Weeping her heart unfathomed and exiled,
Her eyes proclaimed her loneliness, and told
Her longing for the sister soul you mould
And wed with yours in union undefiled.


Till, tired of questing her appointed mate,
Her faith returned to the confessor's power,
And her volubilate voice came back to flower
With serpentine avowals the stern grate.


Then, tired of time by which she was beset,
One eve her body by the brute abbé
Was seized, and to this traitorous priest gave way,
And by this priest to God, without regret.


Rustic whose frame for labour was too slight,
Peasant his own despised and made a priest,
Disdaining the disdain that brands the beast,
He sated his voracious appetite.


She, yielded piously, the Church's prize,
Love's slave but never conquered yet by love,
Enjoyed perversely the proud rapture of
Guilty cohabitation with the skies.