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)
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