For The Gate Of The Courtesans

By Henri de Régnier

IF to the town thou come some morning, to
Join the sweet, frivolous, futile sisters who
Bestow their love and sell their beauty, wait
Before thou enter my returnless gate,
Whose folding-doors are mirrors; there descry
Thy coming self, thou who art tempted by
The gold, it may be, and the banquet’s hum,
Thou from a vast and distant country come,
Thou who still pure, and innocently bare,
Smilest, with autumn’s russet in thy hair,
And summer’s fruits upon thy breast embossed,
And thy soft skin like fabled sea-caves mossed,
And in thy warmest flesh’s secret fold
The form of rosy shells the seas have rolled,
And beauty of dawn and shadow, and the scent
Of flowers and gardens, woods and sea-weed blent!
Tarry, ere the ineffable alms thou bring
Of being both the autumn and the spring
To those who far from dawn and harvests live.
Listen, thou mayest yet return, but if
Thou must, I open, glad to see thee pass,
Laughing and double past my double glass.

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