the Mercenary Muse

Lover of palaces, muse of my heart,
When January launches snow and sleet
And you sit in the dark night after night-
Will there be coals to thaw your purple feet?

Or were you planning to reanimate
Your marble shoulders in the moonbeams' heat?
With a purse as empty as your palate,
Will you go harvest moonlight in the street?

To earn your nightly bread you'll need to swing
A censer like an acolyte, and sing
Solemnities as if they were no joke,

Or, like a hungry actor, bare your ass,
And hide your tears, and be ridiculous-
The better to amuse the common folk.

- Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)