The Temptation Of St. Anthony

By Arthur Symons

The Cross, the Cross is tainted! O most Just,
Be merciful, and save me from this snare.
The Tempter lures me as I bend in prayer
Before the sacred symbol of our trust.
Yea, that most Holy of Holies feeds my lust,
The body of thy Christ; for, unaware,
Even as I kneel and pray, lo, She is there,
The temptress, she the wanton; and she hath thrust
The bruisèd body off, and all her own,
Shameless, she stretches on the cross, arms wide,
Limbs pendent, in libidinous mockery.
She draws mine eyes to her – Ah, sin unknown!
She smiles, she triumphs; but the Crucified
Falls off into the darkness with a cry.

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