Ballad of Reading Gaol eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 114 pages of information about Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Sing to me of that odorous green eve when crouching by the marge You heard from Adrian’s gilded barge the laughter of Antinous

And lapped the stream and fed your drouth and watched with hot and hungry stare The ivory body of that rare young slave with his pomegranate mouth!

Sing to me of the Labyrinth in which the twi-formed bull was stalled!  Sing to me of the night you crawled across the temple’s granite plinth

When through the purple corridors the screaming scarlet Ibis flew In terror, and a horrid dew dripped from the moaning Mandragores,

And the great torpid crocodile within the tank shed slimy tears, And tare the jewels from his ears and staggered back into the Nile,

And the priests cursed you with shrill psalms as in your claws you seized their snake And crept away with it to slake your passion by the shuddering palms.

Who were your lovers? who were they who wrestled for you in the dust?  Which was the vessel of your Lust?  What Leman had you, every day?

Did giant Lizards come and crouch before you on the reedy banks?  Did Gryphons with great metal flanks leap on you in your trampled couch?

Did monstrous hippopotami come sidling toward you in the mist?  Did gilt-scaled dragons writhe and twist with passion as you passed them by?

And from the brick-built Lycian tomb what horrible Chimera came With fearful heads and fearful flame to breed new wonders from your womb?

Or had you shameful secret quests and did you harry to your home Some Nereid coiled in amber foam with curious rock crystal breasts?

Or did you treading through the froth call to the brown Sidonian For tidings of Leviathan, Leviathan or Behemoth?

Or did you when the sun was set climb up the cactus-covered slope To meet your swarthy Ethiop whose body was of polished jet?

Or did you while the earthen skiffs dropped down the grey Nilotic flats At twilight and the flickering bats flew round the temple’s triple glyphs

Steal to the border of the bar and swim across the silent lake And slink into the vault and make the Pyramid your lupanar

Till from each black sarcophagus rose up the painted swathed dead?  Or did you lure unto your bed the ivory-horned Tragelaphos?

Or did you love the god of flies who plagued the Hebrews and was splashed With wine unto the waist? or Pasht, who had green beryls for her eyes?

Or that young god, the Tyrian, who was more amorous than the dove Of Ashtaroth? or did you love the god of the Assyrian

Whose wings, like strange transparent talc, rose high above his hawk-faced head, Painted with silver and with red and ribbed with rods of Oreichalch?

Or did huge Apis from his car leap down and lay before your feet Big blossoms of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured nenuphar?

How subtle-secret is your smile!  Did you love none then?  Nay, I know Great Ammon was your bedfellow!  He lay with you beside the Nile!

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Ballad of Reading Gaol from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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