The Venal Muse
O muse of mine, in love with palaces,
Will you, when January flings his winds,
In the black tedium of snowy nights,
Find half-burned logs to warm your purple feet?
Your mottled shoulders, will they flush to warmth
As moonbeams slip inside our window glass?
Knowing your purse and palate both are dry,
Will you glean gold out of the azure vaults?
You must, to earn your meagre evening bread,
Like a bored altar boy swing censers, chant
to the never present gods,
Or, starving clown, put up your charms for sale,
Your laughter steeped in tears for no one's eyes,
To bring amusement to the vulgar crowd.
Přeložil James McGowan